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Agreement reached in Gorman case

January 8, 2014
By MARK LAW - For The Weirton Daily Times (mlaw@heraldstaronline.com) , Weirton Daily Times

STEUBENVILLE - An agreement was reached today in the Lynnette Gorman case, in which the misdemeanor charge against her will be dismissed by June if certain conditions are met.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin today in the case in which Gorman, the Pugliese West Elementary School principal, had been named in a one-count misdemeanor indictment in which failure to report child abuse or neglect was charged

Her defense attorney, Dennis McNamara of Columbus, spent an hour negotiating with Angela Canepa, Ashley Rodabaugh and Scott Longo, all assistant state attorneys general, before the announcement was made around 10 a.m. today.

The agreement was read by visiting Summit County retired Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove in a Jefferson County Common Pleas Courtroom.

The agreement states the charge against Gorman will be dismissed by June 1 but is contingent upon Gorman completing 40 hours of community service and speaking to other teachers and administrators in the Steubenville City School District on the subject of recognizing and reporting child abuse and child neglect.

"Lynnette Gorman believes that she committed no crime. She also believes that if she had the ability to go back to April 2012, she would have acted differently. School teachers and administrators should always err on the side of caution when the interests of the children are at stake. Under the law, if there is even suspicion of abuse it would be better to make a report so that an investigation of abuse can be conducted. Ms. Gorman has encouraged the school board to have a speaker from the Ohio Alliance Against Sexual Violence come to the middle school and high school in April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month," the agreement stated.

The agreement further states the resolution to the case is in the best interest of Gorman, the state, the school district and the community.

A special grand jury called by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine investigating aspects of the Steubenville High School rape case returned the indictment against Gorman and three others.

The charge against Gorman was not directly linked to the Steubenville rape case, but rather involved another alleged sexual incident involving a high school student in April 2012.

Gorman initially was placed on paid leave by the school board after the indictments were announced, but the school board later allowed her to return to her job.

McNamara had no comment on the resolution, saying the attorney general's office and he had agreed to make no comment other than having the judge read the resolution in court.

(Law can be contacted at mlaw@heraldstaronline.com)

 
 

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