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UPDATE - Western Reserve waits to hear about Solet from state

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:10 PM

COLLINS - The Western Reserve school board is waiting for the Ohio Department of Education in the sexual harassment case of suspended Superintendent Doug Solet.

The 40-year-old Elyria man was suspended late last month without pay and benefits in connection with the complaint filed by a substitute bus driver and part-time cafeteria worker Dec. 13. Solet filed a complaint against the woman Jan. 16.

"He is appealing our ruling on our resolution," president Cheryl Fannin said.

She earlier said the board would consider an immediate resignation from Solet if members received it Feb. 26. Last week, Mark Gagyi, a former superintendent in the district, was named the interim superintendent.

Fannin said board members are waiting for the ODE "to assign referee" and schedule a hearing.

"Until then we are not taking any more action," she added.

The Norwalk Law Director's office filed one misdemeanor count each of telephone harassment and coercion Tuesday afternoon against Solet, stemming from incidents from Nov. 20 through Dec. 6.

Assistant Law Director T. Douglas Clifford has said Solet is accused of using a telecommunication device "with the purpose of" abusing, threatening or harassing the 31-year-old female employee. He said the administrator also is accused of telling her if "she went to the authorities, she would risk losing her job."

A report by HR On Call Inc. concluded Solet violated the school's anti-harassment policy by making "unwelcome invitations to her that made her feel uncomfortable." Investigators didn't find any "clear evidence" the woman violated the policy, but said the allegations "appear to have grown out of a consensual relationship."

If convicted of the harassment charge, Solet, whose personal numbers have been changed or are out of service, faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 maximum fine. A coercion conviction is punishable by up to 90 days of jail time and a $750 maximum fine.

Solet is scheduled to be arraigned April 7 in Norwalk Municipal Court.

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