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Principal Commits Suicide

Lance Clement of Orange Center School took his own life amid growing allegations of sexual misconduct.
Lance Clement's home at 14th Ave. and Fargo in Hanford is where the 42-year old committed suicide Friday.

"This is really upsetting," said Michael Landis.
     
An extremely emotional Michael Landis explained that he was once a student at Pioneer Elementary and remembers Clement being a young yard duty there.

"He was really comfortable to be around.  We had a lot of good times.  He was a fun guy to be around and I do not believe this could possibly be true, the accusations," said Landis.

Last week at Orange Center School, which is just outside the city of Fresno, someone reported that principal clement took a girl into his office and turned the lights off.

Once the Fresno County Sheriff's Office launched an investigation.  Clement turned in his keys and took a voluntary leave.  Deputies went on to interview nearly two dozen people and discovered additional victims who claimed Clement gave them gifts, made sexual comments and brought them into his office as well.

As you can imagine, parents were outraged to hear this.

"I'm very upset because we put our trust in them.  This is their second home," said Laura Cortazar, a parent of a student.
     
Thursday, detectives took Clement's computer from the school, but then realized the hard drive was missing. So Friday, deputies visited his home to search for the data device.

"As we made the announcement we were there with a search warrant, his wife came to the door and announced he had just shot himself," said Fresno Co. Sheriff Margaret Mims.
     
Was it an admission of guilt?  At this point investigators are not certain.  Detectives have removed computer equipment and other evidence from Clement's house.  They are now analyzing those items to learn more about his background and whether or not he was involved in any criminal behavior.



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