BELLEFONTAINE – Heather O’Donnell, former superintendent of the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center in Bellefontaine and Sidney, has been granted a request to have her recent court proceedings expunged. The records against her as a co-defendant in a sexual misconduct case involving her husband are now sealed.
On Feb. 7, former Sidney City Schools Superintendent Patrick O’Donnell was found guilty of one count of gross sexual imposition, a third-degree felony, after he entered a specified guilty plea in Logan County Common Pleas Court. The plea agreement included that pending charges against Mrs. O’Donnell be dropped.
Patrick O’Donnell was sentenced to 41/2 years in prison and must register as a Tier II sex offender for the 25 years after he is released.
Patrick O’Donnell was originally 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, had faced two child endangering charges for not reporting the incident. The victim said in court that she told Heather O’Donnell about Patrick O’Donnell’s behavior twice, but she did nothing. She was facing a maximum 3-year sentence on each count, if convicted.
On May 16, Logan County Common Pleas Court Judge William T. Goslee ruled the records against Heather O’Donnell be sealed. Goslee noted in court records, “The proceedings in this case shall be deemed not to have occurred and defendant indictment shall be sealed.”
Logan County Assistant Prosecutor Alice Robinson-Bond filed a motion to have the request to be dismissed to no avail. O’Donnell’s attorney Colleen O’Connell did not reply to a telephone message left by the SDN.
In an unrelated case, the civil lawsuit filed by Patrick O’Donnell against the Indian Lake Local Schools is ongoing. Within the past 10 days, both sides have filed court records stating their points and objecting the statements made by opposing attorneys.
On Nov. 29, O’Donnell filed the civil lawsuit against the local school board 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 the sexual misconduct case played itself out.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.