BELLEFONTAINE — The deposed former superintendent of Indian Lake Schools, Patrick O’Donnell, has filed a lawsuit to reverse the decision to oust him as the district’s leader.
On Nov. 29, O’Donnell filed the action in Logan County Common Pleas Court against the Indian Lake Board of Education, according to online court records.
O’Donnell is reportedly seeking reinstatement as superintendent, citing the board’s alleged wrongful action of terminating him. He is also seeking payment of back pay since the time of his arrest.
The suit claims school board members were in error on Nov. 19 when they unanimously rejected an Ohio State Education Department recommendation to wait until the legal process of a current rape case against O’Donnell played itself out.
In July, O’Donnell, 52, was 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.
His wife, Heather O’Donnell, 46, faces child endangering charges for not reporting the incident when the 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.
Following his arrest, the Indian Lake Board of Education placed him on unpaid leave because he was arrested and not able to report to work. The board contends the attendance rule gave the district grounds to terminate his employment.
In a prepared statement issued through Indian Lake Public Relation Specialist Jamie Ross, the board said, “The Board’s resolution, passed on Nov. 20, 2017, provides multiple reasons for terminating Mr. O’Donnell, including, but not limited to, loss of public trust.”
O’Donnell’s attorney, Samuel Shamansky, of Columbus, did not return calls seeking comment.
The jury trials for the O’Donnells have been combined and scheduled for Feb. 6 in Logan County Common Pleas Court. Their final pretrial is set for Jan. 16.
Patrick O’Donnell 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.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.
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