Former Elizabeth Forward custodian's attorney denies allegations
A former Elizabeth Forward School District custodian is free on bond while his attorney seeks to throw out charges that he propositioned and groped four female co-workers.
“We have ample evidence of normal communication between my client and these individuals over several months after this alleged harassment that do not indicate that any problem ever occurred,” said Michael F. Santicola, Beaver-based attorney for Jeffrey Scott McDonald.
McDonald, 56, of Clairton was arrested on Aug. 6 on 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.
The incidents reportedly happened during shifts after classes were dismissed at William Penn Elementary School in Forward Township. Township police said no children were put in harm's way.
Four women made complaints that were filed with Elizabeth Forward officials and then turned over to Forward police. McDonald was fired by the Elizabeth Forward school board on June 25.
“It sounds like it is a workplace issue, not a criminal issue,” Santicola said. “If it was a crime it should have been reported at the time that it happened. They did not do that.”
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.
“We deny that any assault took place,” Santicola said. “When we really do see the video it will not show what they have alleged in the complaint.”
McDonald was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Monday before Magisterial District Judge Beth S. Mills. However, because a prosecution witness was unavailable Mills continued the hearing until Sept. 22 at 9 a.m.
McDonald was able to post $10,000 bail, or 10 percent of $100,000, once Mills reduced what originally was a $250,000 bond she set at McDonald's preliminary arraignment.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
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