Florida High School Employees Accused Of Running A 'Cult-Like Society'

By Bill Galluccio

May 7, 2022

Male teacher setting out papers in empty exam hall
Photo: Photodisc

A band director and guidance counselor are accused of running a "cult like group" at Leesburg High School in Florida. According to WOFL, a former student contacted the police and told them that he was a member of a group called the "Elder Council," which was being run by the school's band director Gabriel Fielder.

The unnamed student also said that the school's guidance counselor Leonardo Finello was a member and attended several off-campus meetings. The student claimed that Finello sent him several text messages asking to "meet up," but he never did. After the student graduated, he contacted Finello, and the two were involved in a romantic relationship for about three months.

There were several incidents where the two engaged in sexual activity in Finello's office during school events.

WFTV reviewed state records and found that Fielder and Finelli started a non-profit organization named Elder Council, Inc. in 2019. The group's stated purpose was to run "not-for-profit missions and teaching activities for the greatest evangelical Christian church globally."

The group has since been disbanded.

Authorities said that no charges will be filed, noting the sexual activity between Finello and the former student was consensual and occurred after the student graduated. 

Finello has since resigned from his job. Meanwhile, Fielder has asked for a chance to resign instead of being terminated.

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