The city's mayor said Monday there is no evidence a group of young girls made a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together, seeking to dispel an explosive theory put forth by the high school principal.
“Any planned blood-oath bond to become pregnant – there is absolutely no evidence of,” Mayor Carolyn Kirk said Monday after a closed-door meeting with city, school and health leaders.
Conspicuously absent from that meeting was Gloucester High School Principal Joseph Sullivan, who has not responded to repeated requests for comment after he was quoted last week in a Time magazine story saying the girls planned to get pregnant together.
The mayor, who also sits on the school committee, said she was not comfortable having Sullivan at the meeting.
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Kirk cited privacy concerns in refusing to answer many questions about the 17 girls who became pregnant this school year – more than quadruple the number who generally become pregnant at the school.
Kirk said she and Superintendent Christopher Farmer have been in touch with Sullivan, and that he was “foggy in his memory” about how he came to believe there was a pact.
“When pressed, his memory failed,” Kirk said.
Authorities have talked to school and health officials who work most closely with the children, Kirk said.
Kirk said the spike in pregnancies is in keeping with similar spikes in other cities.
Farmer said there was a “distinct possibility” that the girls who found themselves in challenging situations later decided to “come together for mutual support.”
He said the Time magazine piece did not distinguish between “a pact to become pregnant or a pact because we are pregnant.”