Florida high school band director, counselor led cult-like 'secret society,' at school, police say

A band director and school guidance counselor at Leesburg High School in Florida have been accused of operating a so-called "secret society," according to a police report.

The school counselor, Leonardo Finello, resigned last week, a spokesperson for the school told FOX 35. The Lake County Schools Board is scheduled to consider the band director Gabriel Fielder's employment, on Monday, May 9. Criminal charges have not been filed against either person.

According to the incident report filed in April 2022, the former student told police that he was part of the "Elder Council" in high school, a so-called secret society. He described it as a "cult like group" that was allegedly led by Fielder. Finello, the guidance counselor, was also a member, he said, according to the report.

In July 2021, the group reportedly disbanded. The school said that it had no affiliation with the group and that their apparent meetings occurred away from campus, according to a spokesperson.

The former student also told police that the guidance counselor once sent sexual text messages to him and asked to "meet up." The man told police that he did not meet up with Finello. Once he graduated, however, he told police the two were in a romantic relationship for about three months, the report stated.

While the text messages were "romantic" in nature, they did not contain sexually explicit or pornographic images, the report stated. Because the alleged sexual activity was between two consenting adults, no criminal charges were filed.

The report was forwarded to the Lake County School Board, according to police.