O’Donnell trials now set for Feb. 6


By Jim Painter - For the Sidney Daily News



BELLEFONTAINE — The jury trials for Patrick and Heather O’Donnell involving allegations of rape have been rescheduled for February after the court ruled Wednesday, Nov. 29, that their trials will be combined.

The pair were indicted in June by the Logan County grand jury.

According to online court records, the jury trial will begin Feb. 6 in Logan County Common Pleas Court. Their final pretrial is set for Jan. 16.

Patrick O’Donnell, 52, former superintendent of Indian Lake Schools and at one time, superintendent of Sidney City Schools, has been indicted on 14 charges: four counts of rape, all first-degree felonies; four counts of sexual battery, all second-degree felonies; and six counts of gross sexual imposition, all third-degree felonies.

Heather O’Donnell, 46, faces child endangering charges for not reporting the incident when a girl made the allegations. Heather is on leave as superintendent of the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center in Bellefontaine.

The case against Patrick was filed for his allegedly sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl three years ago. The girl, who doesn’t attend Indian Lake Schools, is now 13. Heather faces charges for being accused of not informing authorities of the assaults.

Patrick was originally arrested, June 19, and charged with gross sexual imposition in Bellefontaine Municipal Court. That charge was dismissed when Logan County Prosecutor Eric Stewart decided to present the case to the grand jury.

Following Patrick’s arrest on a grand jury indictment in July, the Indian Lake Board of Education placed him on unpaid leave because he was arrested and not able to report to work. The attendance rule gave the district grounds to terminate his employment.

On Nov. 19, the board unanimously terminated O’Donnell’s contract, rejecting an Ohio Department of Education recommendation to wait until the legal process played itself out.

Patrick has been with the Indian Lake School District since 2010. Sidney City Schools had employed him for 20 years, where he served as the district’s superintendent, principal at Northwood Elementary School and a teacher.

Heather has been the superintendent of the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center since it was created by the merger of Shelby, Logan and Hardin county educational service centers in 2014. Before that, her services as superintendant had been sahred by those three counties.

By Jim Painter

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.