GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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June 26, 2008

Sullivan stands by view of intentional pregnancies; Disputes mayor, doesn't recall using term 'pact'

Principal Joseph Sullivan yesterday refuted characterization by Mayor Carolyn Kirk that he was incapable of remembering or verifying his statements about an alleged effort by some Gloucester High School students to become pregnant and raise children together.

In a statement issued to the Times by his lawyer, J. Michael Faherty, Sullivan rejected Kirk's suggestion at a news conference Monday that he was "foggy in his memory" and that "his memory failed him" when pressed to say where he got his information and whether he told a reporter from Time magazine that a number of the 18 students who became pregnant this past school year did so intentionally as part of a "pact."

The statement outlines Sullivan's view of his June 11 conversation with Time magazine reporter Kathleen Kingsbury.

"I honestly do not remember specifically using the word 'pact' in my meeting with the Time magazine reporter," Sullivan said. However, he said he stands by belief that "my understanding was that a number of the pregnancies were intentional and that the students within this group were friendly with each other."

Kirk, addressing dozens of television and print reporters Monday, based her description of Sullivan's failing memory and unconfirmed comments on a conversation between the principal and School Superintendent Christopher Farmer. Standing alongside Farmer, Kirk told reporters that city and school officials had been unable to verify the existence of a "pregnancy pact" — and cited Sullivan's inability to remember where he heard about it as an indication the pact may not be real. She said Sullivan had not been invited to the event because his statements regarding the teen pregnancies "could not be verified."

Attempts to reach Kirk by phone for comment were unsuccessful. But in an e-mail statement, Kirk declined to comment on Sullivan's statements, but said she did not regret her comments on Monday.

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