Pat, Heather O'Donnell charged in sex abuse case

Husband and wife both serve in education administration

ODONNELL PATRICK

PATRICK O'DONNELL

ODONNELL HEATHER

HEATHER O'DONNELL

An embattled Indian Lake superintendent has been indicted for 14 sex offenses including rape, while his wife, herself the superintendent of the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center, has been charged with two counts of child endangering.

Patrick O’Donnell, 52, has been indicted on four counts of first-degree felony rape, four counts of second-degree felony sexual battery, five counts of third-degree felony gross sexual imposition and one count of fourth-degree felony gross sexual imposition.

Heather M. O’Donnell, 46, faces two counts of third-degree felony child endangering in the indictments handed up Tuesday by a Logan County grand jury. 

The 13-year-old victim, who is not an Indian Lake student, allegedly told Heather O’Donnell twice of the alleged sexual abuse involving her husband.

Authorities believe Heather O’Donnell was in a position to protect the victim from further abuse and did not report the allegations of abuse that occurred between 2013 and 2016.

Patrick O’Donnell has been placed on unpaid leave by the Indian Lake Board of Education pending his termination.

He was arrested June 19 by Washington Township Police Chief Rick Core after investigating an abuse referral from the Logan County Children’s Services.

In Chief Core’s arrest affidavit filed with the Bellefontaine Municipal Court, the chief reports that when confronted by Heather O’Donnell about the allegations, Patrick O’Donnell downplayed the nature of the contact, referring to the incidents as “accidents that may have happened while wrestling.”

He denied the allegations, but reportedly told Chief Core he would rather plead guilty to a charge than go to trial.

“I spoke with Patrick O’Donnell,” the affidavit reads. “I confronted him with the allegations. Mr. O’Donnell would not admit the allegations, but would not call the minor child a liar. Eventually, he said if he touched her he never intended to. When told these allegations would eventually have to be tried in court, he stated that he would just admit the charge to avoid a trial.”

Both Patrick and Heather O’Donnell were taken into custody and lodged in the Logan County Jail.

The MRESC board meets at 10 a.m. Friday at the agency’s 121 S. Opera St. office to discuss Heather O’Donnell’s status. There will be no comment from the board until after the meeting.

In the interim, board President Randy Sailor said in a release that she is assigned to her home during work hours and cannot be on or at MRESC property or events.