Saturday, November 9, 2002

DARE officer accepts settlement


Accused of harassment, he resigned for back pay

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEBANON - A DARE officer who was accused of sexually harassing 16 teachers in three Warren County schools dropped his effort to keep his job, in exchange for a $21,324.23 settlement.

Mike Krznarich, 34, withdrew his request for binding arbitration after sheriff's officials agreed to rescind his May 3 firing, allow his resignation effective Oct. 4, and pay him back wages, said Col. Del Everett, the sheriff's chief deputy.

"Paying his back wages would have been very close to what it would have cost for the arbitration," Col. Everett said, adding that the proceeding would have been expensive because depositions needed to be obtained from all of the teachers.

The proceedings require both parties to comply with the decision of the arbitrator.

Attorney Tim Evans, who represented Mr. Krznarich, said his client still denies the teachers' allegations.

"There are two sides to every story, and a lot of teachers were going to testify for him as well," Mr. Evans said. "I think we had a good case. But, what it came down to was he made a decision. He didn't want to go back."

Mr. Krznarich was one of two Warren County deputies who faced discipline after accusations of inappropriate behavior involving their jobs in local schools.

Shawn Bray, 30, who worked as the school resource officer at the Warren County Career Center, resigned in April after he was accused of making sexual remarks to female students, sending e-mails to students and writing passes for students to get out of class.

Teachers from Columbia, Pennyroyal and Waynesville elementary schools alleged that Mr. Krznarich made lewd remarks, gestures or suggested to some that he wanted to have an affair.

The allegations prompted the temporary suspension of the school resource program at the Career Center and the assignment of officers from outside the department to finish up the drug intervention classes in Kings, Wayne and Franklin school districts.

The programs resumed this school year. Former sheriff's detective Kenneth McCloud is teaching DARE at Waynesville and Franklin schools, while Don McGlothlin, retired Montgomery police chief, was hired as the DARE officer for schools in the Kings district. Deputy Melissa Nuss replaced Mr. Bray at the Career Center.

E-mail smclaughlin@enquirer.com




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