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Judge rejects plea agreement for former executive director of Eastern Pa. IU

| Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, 5:09 p.m.

In a strong rebuke calling for “just punishment,” a federal judge has rejected the plea agreement made by Fred Rosetti, Ed.D., former executive director of the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit.

The deal, which called for 12 to 18 months in prison, is not appropriate for the “defendant's longstanding, pervasive and wide-ranging criminal activities,” U.S. District Judge Robert D. Mariani wrote in his order.

Rosetti, who is accused of intentionally failing to record sick and vacation days, creating false travel vouchers and ordering employees to do personal tasks for him, now has the option of withdrawing his plea and going to trial or keeping his plea and letting the judge determine his sentence. He could also try to negotiate a new plea agreement.

“The sentence proposed by the plea agreement, as well as the agreement's other terms, do not reflect the seriousness of the offense, do not promote respect for the law and do not provide just punishment for the offense,” Judge Mariani's order states.

In October, Rosetti pleaded guilty to theft and mail fraud charges in a plea deal with prosecutors that called for 12 to 18 months of imprisonment and restitution of $120,000. Judge Mariani had postponed ruling on the plea.

Efforts to reach Rosetti's attorneys, Terri Pawelski and William DeStefano, were unsuccessful Friday.

A presentence investigation report completed earlier this month and prepared by the United States Probation Office “describes a 12-year pattern of abuse of public trust and executive authority for private gain.”

The report, which is not available to the public but part of which is detailed in Judge Mariani's order, describes how Rosetti intentionally failed to document time off from the NEIU, in the form of vacation, personal and sick leave. For every day he did not record, he received a larger payout in the end because his contract called for him to receive his per-diem rate of $663 for each unused day at retirement. Payments for vacation time unlawfully taken totals $81,604.35, and 99 days of sick time that were not recorded total $65,681.55.

A hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 21 to inform Dr. Rosetti of his options and give him an opportunity to withdraw his plea. If he does not withdraw his plea, a sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 5. Judge Mariani would then determine Dr. Rosetti's punishment.

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