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Pregnant student denies pregnancy pact

/ Source: The Associated Press

One of the girls who became pregnant at Gloucester High School this year denied Tuesday there was any pact among them to have children, saying instead they decided to help each other make the best of their situations.

Lindsey Oliver refuted the principal’s claim that a sharp increase in teen pregnancies — 17 compared to a typical four — was in part because several girls planned to get pregnant so they could raise their babies together.

“There was definitely no pact,” Oliver told “Good Morning America.” “There was a group of girls already pregnant that decided they were going to help each other to finish school and raise their kids together. I think it was just a coincidence.”

Oliver, 17, said she became pregnant by accident and that she and her 20-year-old boyfriend, Andrew Psalidas, a community college student, were using birth control.

The couple was in New York and could not be immediately reached for comment. Psalidas’s father, Charles Psalidas, said his son would not talk to any other reporters because he’d made an exclusive interview agreement.

The entertainment news TV show “Inside Edition” said the couple would appear later Monday.

'Foggy in his memory'

City officials have been reeling for a week since Principal Joseph Sullivan told Time magazine that girls had gotten pregnant on purpose, celebrating with high-fives and plans for baby showers when they learned in the school health clinic they were expecting.

Mayor Carolyn Kirk said she and Superintendent Christopher Farmer have been in touch with Sullivan, and he was “foggy in his memory” about how he came to believe there was a pact.

“When pressed, his memory failed,” the mayor said.

Sullivan has not spoken publicly about his comments and has failed to respond to repeated interview requests.

On Monday, Kirk denied any pact existed.

“Any planned blood-oath bond to become pregnant — there is absolutely no evidence of,” Kirk said.

The mayor said the spike in pregnancies is in keeping with similar spikes in other cities.

Nationwide, the teen birth rate rose 3 percent from 2005 to 2006, the most recent year with data available, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That was the first increase recorded since 1991, but federal health officials said it might be a one-year statistical blip.

The CDC didn’t release city-specific data in that report.

‘Mutual support’

Farmer said there was a “distinct possibility” that the girls who found themselves in similar, challenging situations later decided to “come together for mutual support.” He said the Time magazine piece did not distinguish between “a pact to become pregnant or a pact because we are pregnant.”

Sue Todd, chief executive of Pathways for Children, which runs the high school’s on-site day care center, said Tuesday there was no pact. Time magazine reported in its online edition Monday that Todd said June 13 that a social worker had heard of the girls’ plans as early as last fall.

Todd denies the Time report.

“At no time have I stated to anyone that our social worker had knowledge of this. I have stated the opposite,” Todd told The Associated Press. “If anyone would be aware of this pact being real it would be us because we run the program.”

Times spokesman Ali Zelenko said the magazine stands by its story.