Saturday, August 12, 2000

Charge against teacher dropped

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        FAIRFIELD — A misdemeanor charge of theft against a Fairfield West Elementary School teacher accused of stealing money from a student activity account has been dropped but will most likely be refiled in the next two weeks.

        Regardless of the outcome of any criminal charges, a termination hearing against second-grade teacher Heather Stickler will be scheduled next month after classes resume, Fairfield School Superintendent Charles Wiedenmann said.

        Fairfield Prosecutor Pete Froelke said he withdrew the charge because of a technical error. Ms. Stickler was to have stood trial Friday on the misdemeanor charge in Fairfield Municipal Court.

        Once he discusses the matter with Fairfield police and the law director, a new charge will be filed, Mr. Froelke said.

        Ms. Stickler's attorney is ready for the new charge.

        “This is not over,” John O'Shea said. “She will never plead guilty to anything. She didn't do anything wrong, passed a lie-detector test and there's no money missing. All they're doing is abusing the criminal justice system to scare her away.”

        Mr. O'Shea said prosecutors and school leaders are not happy that his client would not plead guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct, and that she refused to resign from her teaching position. Ms. Strickler also won't sign a release giving up her right to sue the board of education should she be terminated, Mr. O'Shea said.

        The school rebuts what Mr. O'Shea is saying.


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