Case dropped against Indian Lake superintendent, will go to grand jury

The case against the Indian Lake school superintendent that alleges he touched a girl, who was not a student in the district, multiple times over a three year period was dismissed Monday in Bellfontaine Municipal Court. Police say officials plan to present the case to a grand jury next month.

Patrick O’Donnell, 52, was charged last week with one count of gross sexual imposition in Bellefontaine Municipal Court.

A hearing scheduled for Monday afternoon was canceled after the charge was dismissed.

An affidavit filed with the court says authorities were first made aware of the accusations by Logan County Children Services. Rick Core stated in the affidavit the 13-year-old said O’Donnell had been touching her inappropriately for a while.

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“She reported that it happened several times between 2013 and 2016…,” the affidavit says.

She told authorities that included her private parts.

Police have been investigating the claims for about two weeks and arrested O’Donnell on June 19. He spent a night in jail, according to police records, and posted $100,000 bail the next day.

O’Donnell’s lawyer, Peter DeSomma, did not return phone calls seeking comment Monday.

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O’Donnell has been placed on paid leave by the school and has been ordered to stay at his residence during school hours and not to attend any school functions.

The Indian Lake Board of Education met Friday during a special board meeting and went into executive session to discuss O’Donnell’s employment with their lawyer. The board indicated they are exploring how they can legally change his employment status.

“As a result of this executive session, the board will again convene in a special meeting on June 29at 6:30 pm in the Board Office to continue the process,” a statement from the school reads.

The affidavit filed with the court says the girl told her mother about the alleged incidents with O’Donnell at least two times before police were contacted.

This news organization was unable to contact the mother of the girl for comment as of publication.

“I spoke with the minor child’s mother who confirmed that her daughter had told her at least twice that Mr. O’Donnell had touched her…,” Core stated in the affidavit. “She told me that she had confronted Mr. O’Donnell about it and he downplayed the incidents as accidents that may have happened while wrestling.”

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Core said in his affidavit that he interviewed O’Donnell on June 19 — the day he was arrested — and O’Donnell refused to confess to the alleged incidents. However, he would not go as far as to deny it.

“Mr. O’Donnell would not admit to the allegations, but would not call the minor child a liar,” Core stated in his affidavit “Eventually he said if he touched her (he) never intended to. When told these allegations would eventually have to be tried in court, he stated the he would just admit the charge to avoid a trial.”

Prosecutors are expected to present the case to a Logan County grand jury July 11.

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