By: James Pruitt
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
Two Bryan Local School officials have a pretrial hearing scheduled for Sept. 20 on misdemeanor charges stemming from separate incidents.
Superintendent Diana L. Savage faces two charges and Board Vice President Glen L. Newcomer a single charge. They had felony charges dismissed last week.
Williams County Sheriff Steven Towns brought a mix of felony and misdemeanor charges against Savage, Newcomer for failing to report an accusation of improper behavior by a teacher in May 2012 Williams County Jobs and Family Services.
Savage and Newcomer were arraigned Aug. 16 and now move on to the pretrial.
Savage, 48, is charged with second degree misdemeanor dereliction of duty and fourth degree misdemeanor failing to report child abuse. She had a felony charge of tampering with evidence dismissed.
The child abuse was in connection to a May 2012 incident where a teacher showed two juvenile girls sex toys, the sheriff states in the charge. The parents of one of the girls informed the superintendent of the incident, but said Savage did not report it to Williams County Jobs and Family Services.
A school psychiatrist did contact JFS, but posed the incident as a hypothetical situation, the sheriff is quoted as saying.
Newcomer, 55, is charged with misdemeanor falsification. A felony charge of tampering was dismissed. The charge stems from distributing an email with false information.
A felony charge of intimidating a witness against administrator Robin Rosswurm was dismissed.
The Bryan Times reported Williams County Prosecutor Katharine Zartman dismissed the charges without prejudice so they could be brought back at a future date, if the evidence supports it.
At a hearing Aug. 18, Judge Kent North of the Bryan Municipal Court chastised all parties involved for the comments being splashed in local media outlets. He cautioned that a continuance of this kind of behavior could result in a gag order.
The rhetoric being reported in the newspapers could spoil the jury pool, the judge said.
For Williams County Sheriff Steven Towns, the judge was succinct. As a professional law enforcement officer, it is not proper he should be insinuating secret meetings, North said.
For all of the parties, the judge offered this admonishment.
“I am asking as professionals for you to back down,” North said. “If not, someone is going to file for a gag order.
“I am appalled (at the comments made) since Monday. Let’s back down.”
The sheriff said he has the authority to bring charges without having to go through the prosecutor first. He said he presented his case to several neutral observers before serving summons on the defendants.
Before the hearing, Towns met with the Village Report at a pre-arranged time before the Aug. 18 hearng to discuss the case. He avoided talking about any details of the case, citing previous media reports as his comments.
His belief is the victims need to be heard and school officials did not do their job when it came to reporting the incident.
James Pruitt may be reached at