Logan County superintendent in child sex case sues for job back


The former Logan County superintendent fired after he was charged with sexually assaulting a girl has sued the district to get his job back.

Also, the criminal cases against the superintendent and his wife, the superintendent at Midwest Regional Educational Center, will go to trial together in February.

Patrick O’Donnell, the former superintendent at Indian Lake Schools, says in a lawsuit filed Nov. 29 in Logan County Common Pleas Court that the board of education unfairly fired him, adding a state referee determined the district should wait until a criminal case is decided.

PREVIOUS: Trial dates set for Logan County superintendents in child rape case

“Superintendent O’Donnell prays that the order of termination be reversed … that the board be ordered to reinstate superintendent O’Donnell under superintendent O’Donnell’s employment contract, pay him the loss of salary he has suffered from the date he was suspended without pay to the date that he was reinstated with pay under superintendent O’Donnell’s employment contract …” the lawsuit says.

O’Donnell’s attorney Samuel Shamanksy did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Indian Lake Schools said in a statement that the board had reasons to fire O’Donnell.

“The Board’s resolution, passed on November 20, 2017, provides multiple reasons for terminating Mr. O’Donnell, including, but not limited to, loss of public trust’’ the statement says.

O’Donnell is also seeking to have the board of education pay his contributions to the STRS (State Teacher Retirement System of Ohio) on the back-pay award, all benefit loss and attorney fees. He is also seeking the board physically expunge from its minutes the charges and the record for the hearing, and that he recovers his costs according to the lawsuit.

He is charged in Logan County Common Pleas Court with charges that include rape - child under 13, sexual battery and gross sexual imposition. The alleged victim in the case is not a student at the school. O’Donnell has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

MORE: Indian Lake superintendent charged with child rape fired

O’Donnell was arrested in June on the charges, and the Indian Lake Board of Education moved quickly to place him on unpaid leave. The board then moved to terminate him, but O’Donnell requested a hearing in front of a state referee. Over a five-day period in August, the board of education tried to prove it had cause to fire O’Donnell. But the state referee, attorney Robert Harrelson, in an opinion released last month, said that board did not prove O’Donnell did anything wrong and should wait to terminate him.

But, according to Indian Lake Schools, Ohio Revised Code allows the board to reject the recommendation and Indian Lake did that late last month and fired him Nov. 20.

“As a matter of law, the board was required to, but did not, give due deference to Referee Harrelson’s findings of fact with respect to all eight charges and his recommendation that all eight charges be dismissed,” the lawsuit says. “The board failed to provide reliable, probative and substantial evidence that there existed good and just cause for Superintendent O’Donnell’s termination and its order of termination is not supported by a preponderance of reliable, probative and substantive evidence…,” the lawsuit continued.

The criminal case against O’Donnell was set to start Dec. 6, but instead the defense and prosecutors agreed to combine his and his wife’s, Heather O’Donnell’s, trial, according to court documents obtained by the Springfield News-Sun. Heather O’Donnell is charged with child endangering. Police said in an affidavit that the child told her about the alleged assaults and she did not act. She has pleaded not guilty

Heather O’Donnell was placed on unpaid leave pending her trial.

The trial against them is set to start Feb. 6.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Police: Florida man tasered after walking naked through neighborhood carrying cooking oil
Police: Florida man tasered after walking naked through neighborhood carrying cooking oil

A Florida man was arrested Thursday for allegedly walking naked through a neighborhood during a rainstorm and carrying cooking oil, the Pensacola News Journal reported. Joseph John Musso, 63, was charged with loitering and prowling, lewd and lascivious behavior, resisting an officer without violence and exposure of sexual organs, the Santa Rosa...
Officials: 2 Oklahoma construction workers OK after falling from 3-story building 
Officials: 2 Oklahoma construction workers OK after falling from 3-story building 

Two Oklahoma construction workers are apparently OK after falling from a three-story building in Oklahoma City, KFOR reported Monday. Oklahoma City firefighters were called to the downtown building Monday morning. Two men were working on a building when they fell, authorities said. The workers were taken to a hospital because of the height...
Springfield man accused in stabbing indicted in Clark County
Springfield man accused in stabbing indicted in Clark County

A Springfield man accused of stabbing another man in the stomach with a pocket knife and attempting to stab his son was indicted in Clark County Common Pleas Court. Harold Bennett, 52, was indicted on a count of felonious assault. READ: Mother of Urbana student who was high on cocaine pleads guilty Police began their investigation when they were called...
Mother threatens children, punches son in eye, police say
Mother threatens children, punches son in eye, police say

An Ohio mother threatened her children and punched one of them in the eye, police said.  Zipporah Thompson, 27, was recorded in a video Sunday threatening her children ages 2 and 1, according to WFMJ.  “Your father don't want y'all and don't care about y’all,” Thompson said in the video handed over by the father to...
Lava from Hawaii volcano reaches Pacific Ocean, causing new concerns
Lava from Hawaii volcano reaches Pacific Ocean, causing new concerns

An “explosive eruption” happened at Kilauea's summit on Hawaii's Big Island early Monday, prompting officials to warn residents to protect themselves from ash fallout as the Kilauea volcano eruption continues into its third week. More than 40 structures have been destroyed in the eruption that started May 3. It has since inundated ...
More Stories