Charlotte Catholic High principal put on leave as diocese looks at possible mishandling of finances

Jerry Healy, the longtime principal at Charlotte Catholic High School, has been placed on paid leave while the Diocese of Charlotte Catholic Schools investigates possible mishandling of funds at an organization that supports the school.

In a Wednesday letter to parents, Janice Ritter, the diocese’s superintendent of schools, also wrote that an independent auditing firm has been hired to review the high school’s bank accounts.

Healy, an employee of Charlotte Catholic schools since 1971, has been principal of the 1,400-student high school since 2003.

Diocese spokesman David Hains said the paid administrative leave for Healy, who is in his 60s, qualified as a “personnel matter,” so he would not comment.

Hains did say that Superintendent Ritter met Thursday with teachers and administrators at the school. “The students were also told,” he said.

At issue are funds for the Charlotte Catholic High School Foundation, an independent organization founded in 1974 that supports the school. In her letter to parents, Ritter said the foundation informed the diocese that “it believes certain Foundation funds may not have been used for proper purposes.”

The foundation has an annual scholarship fund that is named for Healy’s late daughter, Megan.

Last fall, the foundation lost its tax-exempt status after failing to file records with the IRS in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Cindy Grim, the foundation’s president, said the issues that prompted the diocese to place Healy on leave were not related to the IRS action.

Asked for details about the possible misuse of foundation funds, Grim said, “At this point, we just don’t have any comment.”

Healy appears to be popular with parents and others in Charlotte’s Catholic community.

“I’m befuddled. I’ve known Mr. Healy forever. He’s a wonderful man,” said one mother of two Charlotte Catholic High students, who asked that her name not be used. “It’s very sad if there’s anything going on.”

Healy also drew support from those who posted their online reactions to the Observer’s story.

“I would have a hard time believing Jerry Healy was involved with anything shady,” said one commenter.

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