Welch not yet cleared to return to Santa Margarita

Santa Margarita football coach Harry Welch was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing by the Orange County District Attorney, but the school announced that it wasn't ready to clear him to return to work, so he will remain on paid administrative leave.

School president Paul Carey and principal Ray Dunne sent a letter to football parents saying that just because Welch was cleared by the D.A., doesn't mean he has cleared a joint investigation by the school and the Diocese of Orange, which is still ongoing.

Here's the content of the letter that was sent on Saturday:

As you are aware Coach Harry Welch is currently on administrative leave while Santa Margarita Catholic High School Administration and Diocese Of Orange officials conduct a joint review of the matter. You may have read recent media blogs and elsewhere that the Orange County District Attorney's Office has declined to file criminal charges. This decision does not relieve the school and the diocese of their obligation to completely review the circumstances reported, and until such time, Coach Welch will remain on leave. Because of the laws of California which protect the privacy of employees, neither the school nor the diocese is at liberty to discuss the details or report any further on this matter at this time. We ask for your patience and cooperation while the school and the diocese complete their joint review. The safety of our students is, and will remain, our priority.

The school may take its time and be as thorough as possible given the support it gave to two assistant coaches who had pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana, and then firing them after more information became available.