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Falsely accused student awarded nearly $84K

| Sunday, April 29, 2012, 5:44 p.m.

The Hempfield Area School District will pay $15,000 and the state $68,500 to a student falsely accused of phoning in a bomb threat to the school last year, according to a settlement agreement filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh.

The agreement ends a lawsuit filed by Cody Webb and his parents, Vernon and Linda Webb, against high school Principal Kathy Charlton and state police Trooper James Simpson.

Webb was 15 last year, when he was jailed for 12 days after he was wrongly accused of making the bomb threat March 12.

The charges were dismissed March 27 after Webb's attorneys were able to show the call did not come from his phone.

They said Charlton and Thomas did not take into consideration that the school's clock had not been adjusted for daylight saving time. Incoming calls to the school that morning did not register the correct time.

Although Charlton and Simpson were sued individually, the district's insurance will pay for Charlton's share of the settlement. The state will pay Simpson's portion.

The two sides reached an agreement to settle the case in August, although the terms were not released until September.

The agreement requires that neither comment on the settlement.

The agreement also states that the settlement should not be considered an admission of wrongdoing by Charlton or Simpson in connection with the investigation, the agreement states.

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