Prosecutor hopes to block O’Donnell’s subpoena for victim’s testimony

Prosecutors have asked Logan County Common Pleas Judge William T. Goslee to block Patrick O’Donnell’s effort to require a 13-year-old victim and her siblings to testify in a termination hearing.

In a Tuesday filing with the court, Logan County Prosecutor Eric Stewart argued, “The victim’s testimony and the family members’ testimony has no relevance to this hearing.”

The termination hearing centers on eight factors including being absent without leave from work and his inability to perform his duties because the public and school staff no longer trust him, and the Ohio Department Education requirements that he must be suspended from all duties that involve the care, custody and control of students pending the outcome of his criminal case. 

O’Donnell’s attorney Dennis L. Pergram countered in a Friday filing the suspended Indian Lake Local School District superintendent is entitled to due process in the administrative hearing and O’Donnell will not be in the room when the siblings are called to testify.

Pergram, who has represented O’Donnell’s employment issues since mid June, further argues prosecutors are trying to use the court to usurp the power and authority of the administrative referee.

They also failed to show the court has jurisdiction in the matter.

O’Donnell, 52, was arrested June 19 after the Washington Township Police Department investigated allegations of sexual abuse that started in 2013 and continued through 2016.

In July, a Logan County grand jury returned an indictment charging him with 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 a single count of fourth-degree felony gross sexual imposition.

His wife, Heather O’Donnell, 46, a suspended superintendent of the Midwest Regional Education Service Center, was charged with two counts of third-degree child endangering. The ESC board on Thursday approved Heather O’Donnell’s request for an unpaid voluntary leave of absence.

She allegedly was in a position to report the allegations and failed to protect the victim.

During his arraignment, Judge Goslee ordered that Patrick O’Donnell have no direct or indirect contact with the 13-year-old female victim.

Stewart argued in his Tuesday motion the subpoena would violate the court order.

“O’Donnell, through his counsel, has engaged in a pattern of attempting to contact and intimidate the victim,” the prosecutor wrote in his motion.

“He first attempted by subpoenaing her to his civil protection hearing. The defendant’s attorney Sam Shamansky then attempted to call the victim’s personal cell phone” all prior to the criminal indictments.

O’Donnell has appealed the Indian Lake Board of Education’s resolution to fire him.

Five days have been scheduled for the hearings which have been closed to the public at O’Donnell’s request.

The first two days are Monday and Tuesday in the AcuSport Meeting Room of the Transportation Museum at the Logan County History Center.

On Aug. 28 and 29, the hearings will be at the Huntsville Presbyterian Church, but return to the History Center on Sept. 1.

Rob Underwood, formerly the Indian Lake High School principal, has been named interim superintendent of the Indian Lake School District while Rick Smith, superintendent of the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, has been retained to serve as acting ESC superintendent during the search for an interim ESC head.