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Absent witness forces hearing delay for ex-Elizabeth Forward custodian

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Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, 3:51 a.m.
 

The lack of a witness caused a delay in a Monday hearing in Forward Township for a former Elizabeth Forward School District custodian charged with propositioning and groping four female co-workers.

Magisterial District Judge Beth S. Mills granted a prosecution request to continue the preliminary hearing for Jeffrey Scott McDonald, 56, of Clairton until Sept. 22 at 9 a.m.

Court officials said the witness was unavailable.

McDonald was returned to Allegheny County Jail where he is being held in lieu of bond and awaits a behavioral evaluation ordered by Mills.

The Forward Township district judge reduced the bond holding McDonald since his arrest on Aug. 6 from $250,000 to $100,000.

The incidents reportedly happened at William Penn Elementary School in Forward Township.

McDonald allegedly had one target in particular. In an affidavit, township police and district school resource officer Travis Stoffer wrote that a surveillance video showed an assault taking place.

Four women made complaints that were filed with Elizabeth Forward officials and then turned over to Forward police.

Forward Chief Mark Holtzman said McDonald's alleged activity was ongoing from November until June, but after classes had been dismissed for any given day and during the 3-11 p.m. shift.

“There were no children ever put in harm's way of any sort,” Holtzman said earlier this month.

After an internal investigation, McDonald was fired by the Elizabeth Forward school board on June 25.

“The district cannot comment on this issue because of pending litigation,” Superintendent Bart Rocco said after McDonald's arrest.

On Aug. 6, McDonald was charged with one felony and two misdemeanor counts of indecent assault, two felony counts of promoting prostitution, two misdemeanor counts of stalking and one misdemeanor count of unlawful restraint.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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