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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Cases focus on the obligation to report child abuse

Questions about the obligation to report child abuse have been in the forefront since the Penn State scandal. Indiana has had several cases in the courts.

Yesterday, in a story headed "Attorney seeks new venue, special prosecutor in LaPorte school sex case," Stan Maddux of the NWI Times reported:

LAPORTE COUNTY | A judge Thursday scheduled hearings on a motion that two LaPorte school officials should be tried outside the county on allegations they failed to report their suspicions of a sexual relationship between a now former coach and player.

LaPorte Superior Court Judge Jennifer Koethe also decided to hear motions that a special prosecutor be appointed in the case and that both cases be tried together during the same hearings.

Koethe is scheduled to hear all of the arguments for the entire day on June 5 and for a half-day on June 6 on the motions submitted Wednesday by the defense and prosecution.

Defense attorney Elizabeth Flynn, in her written motion for a change of venue, said pre-trial publicity could make it difficult to find jurors who would not be tainted from what they've read about the case in the press.

LaPorte High School athletic director Ed Gilliland and former girls varsity volleyball coach Mary Beth Lebo are charged with two counts of Class B misdemeanor failure to report child abuse and neglect.

It's alleged Gilliland, 53, and Lebo, 50, knew about a sexual relationship between junior varsity girls volleyball coach Robert Ashcraft and a player, and failed to report the activity to the proper authorities.

Ashcraft, 48, is now serving a 21-year prison sentence after being convicted of of two counts of Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor; Class C felony sexual misconduct with a minor and Class D felony child seduction.

From earlier ILB entries:In a separate case, out of Muncie, the March 8, 2013 ILB post begins:
Attorney General Zoeller has filed a petition to transfer in the case of Christopher Smith v. State of Indiana.
The question in the case was whether ex-Central principal Chris Smith failed to immediately report child abuse or neglect. The AG is seeking to have the Smith conviction reinstated.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 23, 2013 10:46 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions