Heather and Patrick O’Donnell, an Ohio married couple who are both school superintendent, have been arrested on child sex abuse charges. They have six of their own children between them.
The O’Donnells, from Bellefontaine, Ohio, were taken into custody on Tuesday, July 11.
Patrick, 52, was indicted on 14 charges including raping a child under the age of 13, gross sexual imposition and sexual battery. Heather, 44, was charged with child endangerment.
According to police, Patrick, the superintendent for Lake Local Schools, raped a girl three times over a period of three years starting when she was just 10. The child allegedly confided in Heather O’Donnell, but she did not report him.
‘She reported that it happened several times between 2013 and 2016,’ Washington Township Police Chief Rick Core wrote in his report.
Heather confronted Patrick about the incident, however, he claimed he was innocent and it happened while he was ‘wrestling with the girl.’
Patrick O’Donnell has served as the Indian Lake Schools superintendent for seven years. The school board has placed him on unpaid leave and have begun the process to terminate him, according to a news release from the board. The alleged victim in the case wasn’t a student at the district.
Patrick O’Donnell’s attorney, Peter DeSomma, didn’t return a phone call requesting comment on Tuesday evening. Earlier charges against Patrick O’Donnell filed in Bellefontaine Municipal Court were dismissed, which Washington Twp. Police Chief Rick Core said was pending an indictment from the grand jury.
The Springfield News-Sun was the first to publish information in an affidavit filed against Patrick O’Donnell in Bellefontaine Municipal Court. In it, police allege he touched a girl inappropriately, including her private parts. Police said the girl told them the alleged incidents had occurred several times over a three-year span.
Also in the affidavit, police alleged Heather O’Donnell knew about the accusations before but didn’t report them to police. The victim allegedly told her at least twice, the affidavit says.
Heather O’Donnell faces two counts of child endangerment, while Patrick faces charges of rape-victim under 13, rape compels and sexual battery.