Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Father sentenced in endangering case

The Associated Press

        AKRON — A man accused of bullying his five home-schooled children to win spelling bees and excel academically pleaded guilty Monday to a reduced felony charge and was sentenced to three years probation.

        Thomas Lavery, 57, had been accused of forcing his children to study for long periods without sleep or bathroom breaks.

        One of his daughters, 19-year-old Marjory Lavery, also told police that her father jumped on her and threatened to kill her after she placed second in the National Spelling Bee in 1995.

        “I simply want to get this case over with,” Mr. Lavery told the judge Monday, the day his trial was to begin in Summit County Common Pleas Court. “I'm sorry for some of the mean, ugly things I've done to these kids.”

        Mr. Lavery admitted one felony count of attempted child endangering and one misdemeanor child endangering charge. He had been charged with multiple child endangering counts.

        Judge James R. Williams suspended a one-year prison sentence and ordered the probation.

        Prosecutors said the case against Mr. Lavery included numerous instances of psychological, verbal or physical abuse.


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- Father sentenced in endangering case