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USF administrator to return to teaching

Steve Ritch, longtime leader of student affairs at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, will step down to return to teaching.

Ritch, 54, named associate vice president more than a year ago, oversees all aspects of student life. His annual salary is $81,931.

In his new job, he will help develop a leadership study minor in the College of Education, serving as the program coordinator and lecturer.

USF St. Petersburg expects to find a replacement for Ritch by early August.

Mother of sexually abused kids sues YMCA

ST. PETERSBURG _ The mother of two children sexually abused by a former community outreach director of the St. Petersburg Family YMCA has sued the agency.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court says the YMCA knew that its former employee, Christopher Lee Allen, previously faced allegations of sexually abusing children in South Carolina before hiring him in 1996.

The suit, which seeks unspecified damages in excess of $15,000, also said the YMCA did not take adequate steps to investigate Allen's past before hiring him.

Allen, 29, was sentenced to nine years in prison in March 2002. He was found guilty of two charges of lewd and lascivious behavior for molesting an 11-year-old girl through his YMCA job. He also pleaded no contest to charges of molesting two other children.

The YMCA referred questions to its attorneys, who declined to comment because the YMCA had not yet been served with a copy of the lawsuit.

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