Parents demand board response

PERRYSBURG – Angry parents asked the school board for more action — then refused to leave the meeting — in the wake of sex charges being amended against two juveniles.

With an estimated 100 in attendance, parents and a student took to the podium to address the Perrysburg Schools’ board of education during public participation at Monday’s meeting, held in the Commodore Building. They were concerned about the juveniles being back in school and on the sports field.

The majority also refused to leave the meeting, demanding a response from board members.

Amid shouts and yelling, three members of the Perrysburg Police Department appeared at the entrance of the cafeteria, where the meeting was being held.

After the group refused to leave, Superintendent Tom Hosler attempted to quiet the crowd, saying he and the board are in a precarious situation.

“We’re in a difficult position, because when a court order is given to school districts, whether it’s Perrysburg or anywhere else, we’re obligated to follow that court order,” Hosler said. “We’re very limited in terms of the reasons how and why we can keep students out of school.”

He said that the district worked “very closely” with the courts to keep all of its students safe. Hosler also referred the crowd to the official statement from the district that is posted on the website.

The issue was not addressed by the board or Hosler during the meeting, except to point out that speakers stick to a short list of privacy guidelines.

Parents and students had a maximum of three minutes each, for a total of 15 minutes, for questions and statements for the board. All spoke of concerns about the two juveniles.

Michael Metzger called the two juveniles “sexual predators.” He asked if bathrooms and hallways will be monitored.

A football player expressed his concerns. Several other players and friends also attended the meeting with him.

Quoting parts of the district website statement that “participation in extra-curricular activities, including interscholastic sports, is a privilege and not a right,” the player added that “we earned the privilege of playing football by following the rules.”

The player also listed concerns for student safety.

“I am worried that they are going to do it again,” the player said.

Also speaking was a woman who said that she was victimized while she was school-aged. She spoke about her experience, of having to see the fellow student on a daily basis in the hallways.

Earlier this month, rape charges were amended against two Perrysburg juveniles.

The two boys, who are now 14 and 13, appeared in Wood County Juvenile Court.

The 14-year-old admitted to the two amended charges of gross sexual imposition.

The 13-year-old pleaded guilty to pandering obscenities of a minor.

The agreements were reached between the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office, the defense attorneys and the attorneys for the victims, said Bridget Ansberg, executive director of the Wood County Juvenile Court.

On March 8, the Perrysburg Police Division was made aware of an alleged sexual assault that occurred in November. It was also reported that part of the incident was possibly recorded.

As soon as the allegation was reported, Perrysburg police detectives started an investigation.

According to Ansberg, for the next two years, both juveniles shall have no contact with the victims and their families and be subject to supervised probation at the discretion of the juvenile court’s probation department.

They also must complete sexual offender assessment and follow any recommended treatments.

The boys may have no unsupervised access to the internet, have no social media, have no unsupervised contact with minors their age or younger and comply with all reasonable requests of their parents, school and all laws of the community.

Gross sexual imposition is defined as when a person engages in sexual contact with another individual against their will. It is a fourth-degree felony.

Pandering obscenity of a minor occurs when a person creates, reproduces, buys, sells, advertises for sale, publicly distributes, or displays any obscene material of a juvenile. It is a second-degree felony.

The original charges included rape and pandering. They were both 13 years old at the time.

The two have been on electronic monitoring and home confinement since being charged in March. Now, the probation department will set their curfew, Ansberg said.