The Midwest Regional Educational Service Center governing board placed its superintendent on paid administrative leave after she was indicted and accused of not acting on allegations of child rape, calling the charges against her “horrible.”
Heather O’Donnell has been charged with two counts of child endangering in connection with child rape charges lodged against her husband, Indian Lake Superintendent Patrick O’Donnell. She was suspended by the Midwest board on July 14, according to a news release from the district.
“The charges against Mrs. O’Donnell are horrible,” the release from the Midwest board says. “The justice system will proceed and determine her guilt or innocence to these charges.”
In the release, the board says it has intentions to examine her employment with the school.
“The ESC remains committed to our first priority — partnering with school districts to improve outcomes for students and families,” the release says.
A Logan County grand jury indicted Heather O’Donnell and Patrick O’Donnell on July 11. Patrick O’Donnell faces several charges — four counts of rape-victim under 13, four counts of sexual battery and six counts of gross sexual imposition.
Investigators have said the alleged rapes occurred over a three-year-period and involve a single child who’s now 13. That child isn’t a student at Indian Lake and was known to both O’Donnells, according to police.
The police have alleged the child went to Heather O’Donnell at least two times to report the abuse to her but Heather O’Donnell didn’t report the allegations to authorities.
The Indian Lake school board has placed Patrick O’Donnell on unpaid leave and started the process to fire him. Patrick O’Donnell has appealed the district taking that step toward termination.
The Indian Lake board has set a public hearing for Aug. 4, but that date could change, according to a statement from the board, because the Ohio Department of Education hasn’t confirmed the date.
The state education department must provide a referee for the hearing, according to the district’s statement, and until a referee is assigned the date is tentative.
Neither his attorney, Peter DeSomma, nor her attorney, Sam Shamansky, have returned phone calls from the Springfield News-Sun seeking comment.
Representatives from Indian Lake school district couldn’t be reached for comment.