Charges Dropped Against Former Palm Beach Central Employees

Prosecutors have dropped charges against Palm Beach Central High School’s former principal and four other employees for failing to report alleged abuse involving a minor.

A March 15 statement from the office of State Attorney Dave Aronberg cited several factors in the decision, including that the alleged victim was “now unable to recall material aspects” of the events. The statement explained, “It has also come to light that school board reporting policy is conflicting, ambiguous and unclear regarding allegations of abuse involving only minors.”

The statement noted, “While prosecutors had a good-faith basis to file the charges in July, recent developments and discoveries in the case significantly impacted our ability to successfully prosecute this case.”

Then-PBCHS Principal Darren Edgecomb and four other staff members at the Wellington school were arrested July 24 of last year on charges of failure to report an alleged incident of sexual abuse. The incident occurred off campus in 2021 and involved a 15-year-old female student and a male student of about the same age.

The employees were assigned to roles away from students. On short notice, Reginald Myers, a retired principal formerly at Park Vista High School, agreed to serve as PBCHS principal, and he has remained in the position.

Attorney John M. Howe released the following statement on behalf of Edgecomb: “The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office finally did the right thing and dismissed all criminal charges against former Palm Beach Central High School Principal Darren Edgecomb and four other administrative staff members at the school. The investigation that led to the criminal charges was deeply flawed and disregarded the obvious financial motivation of the complainants. There was never any justice to be obtained from this unjust and unfair prosecution. Earlier statements released by prosecutors misstate the law and the facts, which resulted in the abandonment of the prosecution on the eve of trial. At all times, Principal Edgecomb and his team took great care to adhere to the law and Palm Beach County School District policies. Principal Edgecomb is relieved and grateful, both for himself and the other members of his staff, that the correct disposition of charges was entered.”

School officials learned of the allegations in part through a letter sent to them by a friend of the female student several months after the alleged incident, according to court documents. At issue was whether school officials were required to report the matter to the Department of Children & Families.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office closed a criminal investigation of the incident in October 2021 without filing charges, but two years later, authorities pursued charges against school officials regarding their duty to report the incident.