County prosecutor cites staff conflict, punts ECOT review

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien has recused himself from an investigation into potential criminal conduct by officials at Ohio's then-largest online charter school.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the Republican law enforcer isn't stepping aside because of campaign donations he received from Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow founder Bill Lager, but because of a staff-related conflict.

O'Brien said in a statement Monday that an assistant county prosecutor was formerly married to Brittny Pierson, ECOT's superintendent when the school was closed by its sponsor in January. O'Brien says Pierson also worked at ECOT while the two were married.

O'Brien plans to bring in an outsider to review Auditor Dave Yost's May 10 findingthat ECOT officials might have committed criminal fraud by withholding information and misleading state education regulators.