Leesburg High group principal, counselor led cult, Florida police say

LEESBURG — A former Leesburg High School student has told Leesburg Police Department investigators he was involved in a “secret society” at LHS, led by gang manager Gabriel Fielder.

He also told investigators that when he was 17 and still a student at LHS, former LHS guidance counselor Lenny Finelli texted him and asked him “sexual questions “, according to the report. It also says Fielder — who, as a school employee, is a mandatory abuse reporter — was aware of the messages between the student and Finelli and deleted them.

According to the report, after graduating and turning 18, the alum began a sexual relationship with Finelli, who helped lead the band. Finelli resigned.

Fielder’s resignation in lieu of dismissal is to be considered at Monday’s Lake County School Board meeting.

The redacted report does not name the former student. Ultimately, no charges were filed as the former student was 18 when he was in a relationship with Finelli.

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“The Elder Council”, a cult-like group

The student told investigators that in September 2020, he was involved with an LHS secret society called “The Elder Council”.

“He said it was a cult band, led by Leesburg band manager Gabriel D. Fielder,” the report said. “He said that one night in September, a member of the band, Leonardo Finelli, who was currently employed as a guidance counselor at Leesburg High School at the time, sent him a cellphone message.”

Finelli, a graduate of the LHS class of 2010, asked to meet with the student and ask “what was his penis size and sexual orientation,” the report said.

The two did not meet that night, but the next day Finelli told Fielder that he and the student had been texting. Fielder then spoke with Finelli and the student and “said they are no longer allowed to message each other and if they talk to each other another member of their group must be present during the conversation”, indicates the report.

Fielder then deleted all text messages between the student and Finelli. He also deleted them from iCloud.

“(The former student) said Gabriel demanded that none of them talk about the incident and asked the other band members to keep the incident a secret as well,” the report said.

In an additional report, guidance counselor Lisa Schattie told investigators that Finelli told her that he and the former student met for sex several times in his office during LHS football games, after the student had graduated.

“Leonardo would leave his office door unlocked, allowing (the former student) to enter,” the report said.

After the student graduated, he and Finelli began a relationship that lasted about three months. He lived with Finelli from October to November 2021.

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