updated 6/26/2008 7:45:30 PM ET 2008-06-26T23:45:30

The principal of a Massachusetts high school who said a group of students intentionally got pregnant stood by his comments Thursday, saying his information “was and is accurate.”

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In his first public statement since the controversy erupted earlier this month, Gloucester High School principal Joseph Sullivan said he does not specifically remember using the word “pact” but does not dispute it.

He said a reporter from Time magazine asked him whether access to birth control through the school’s health center would have prevented the spike in pregnancies — 17 last year, compared with the typical four.

“I told her no, because my sources had informed me that a significant number of the pregnancies, especially among the younger students, were the result of deliberate and intentional behavior,” Sullivan said.

The principal said his only direct source of information about the intentional pregnancies was the former nurse practitioner at the health center. He said he also heard “verbal staff reports and student/staff chatter.”

Sullivan said he had been asked by school officials in the fishing community 30 miles north of Boston not to speak publicly. But he said he issued the three-page statement Thursday “to put to rest the notion that I am ’foggy in my memory’ or that when pressed, ’my memory failed.”’

He was referring to comments by Mayor Carolyn Kirk, who has said that there is no evidence of such a pact and that Sullivan could not remember the source of his information.

Sullivan’s statement was first reported in the online version of his hometown newspaper, the Gloucester Daily Times, and the principal’s attorney confirmed its accuracy to The Associated Press.

Kirk declined Thursday to address Sullivan’s statement, but she defended her own response to the controversy.

“Teenagers in Gloucester are being hunted down by the national and even international media,” she said. “And if I had to do it again, I would still stand up and protect the privacy of the families and defend the city against the sensationalized and unsubstantiated reports.”

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