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Ohio principal gets chance to wipe out charge related to teen sex and drinking party

| Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 6:15 p.m.

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — An eastern Ohio elementary school official will perform community service related to rape awareness in exchange for prosecutors dropping a charge that she failed to report rumors of a teenage sex and drinking party, state Attorney General Mike DeWine announced on Wednesday.

Lynnett Gorman had faced a misdemeanor charge of failure to report child abuse or neglect related to the April 2012 party. The accusation against Gorman arose from an investigation into other crimes associated with the August 2012 rape of a 16-year-old girl after a different party, but it was not related to that case.

Gorman, a principal in the Steubenville city schools, must perform 40 hours of community service at a rape crisis or victim assistance center and talk to teachers and administrators in Steubenville about the importance of reporting child abuse and neglect, DeWine said.

She must encourage the school system to host a speaker from the Ohio Alliance Against Sexual Violence during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

If she completes those activities, the charge will be dropped by June 1, DeWine said.

The attorney general said more can be accomplished through community service than jail time had Gorman been convicted.

“The interests of the community are served by having the principal acknowledge that she should have done things differently,” DeWine said in a statement, adding: “This is about the long-term healing of the community.”

A message seeking comment was left on Wednesday with Gorman's attorney, Dennis McNamara, who previously said Gorman was accused of failing to report possible child abuse, apparently involving a teen sex and drinking party in April 2012 unrelated to the rape of the West Virginia girl later that year.

McNamara said Gorman learned about the party second- or third-hand while checking to see if her son had been involved.

Because parents of the teens knew of the party's circumstances, “I don't think she had an obligation” to report it, McNamara said last month.

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