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      Basketball coach at exclusive private school arrested for forcible touching

      M anlius Pebble Hill Assistant Athletic Director Thomas Pritchard, 45, has been arrested on a charge of Forcibly Touching a high school age girl during a physical education class on June 1st.

      The exclusive private school learned about the accusation when the girl confided in another teacher earlier this week. Administrators then contacted the Dewitt Police Department which ultimately turned over the case to the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department. Deputies arrested Pritchard this morning at 11:45. He was arraigned at the East Syracuse Village Court because it was available at the time.

      Manlius Pebble Hill interim-head of school Tracy Frank placed Pritchard on administrative leave with pay pending the result of the school and police investigation. M.P.H. spokesperson Susan Gullo said, "we're very dismayed to have heard about the charges, our concern is our students. He's a long time employee. We have not had any other incidents in the past. It is every distressing."

      Courts papers that go into greater detail about the allegations are not yet available due to the sensitive nature of the contact. Jail records on Thursday night show he posted bail.

      Tom's neighbors seemed surprised to hear about his arrest.

      "I was shocked to hear it," said neighbor Art Coughlin. "I just heard it moments ago. I just don't understand it. That's not Tom. Tom's a good family man. And I don't see him ever doing something like this."

      He is due back in Dewitt Town Court next Wednesday, June 27th.

      M.P.H. is an exclusive college preparatory private school in Dewitt. Its history dates back some 140 years. Pritchard coaches the basketball team and has also led an Extreme Fitness Boot Camp at Manlius Pebble Hill.