ShareThis Page

Former Elizabeth Forward custodian's attorney denies allegations

| Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, 3:56 a.m.

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.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.