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Western Reserve suspendedschool chief Solet charged

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

COLLINS - Suspended Western Reserve Superintendent Doug Solet is being charged with one misdemeanor count each of telecommunication harassment and coercion.

Norwalk Assistant Law Director T. Douglas Clifford said the summonses, in connection with incidents from Nov. 20 through Dec. 6, were issued by certified mail after the complaints were filed Tuesday afternoon. He said Solet, 40, of Elyria, is accused of using a telecommunication device "with the purpose of" abusing, threatening or harassing a 31-year-old school employee.

"It doesn't mean you do all three," Clifford said, explaining the charge which is punishable by six months in jail.

The administrator also is accused of telling the same employee if "she went to the authorities, she would risk losing her job," Clifford said. If convicted of coercion, Solet could face up to 90 days behind bars.

No court dates were available at press time.

Last week, the school board hired Mark Gagyi, a former superintendent in the district, as the interim superintendent. Solet was suspended late last month without pay and benefits in connection with sexual harassment allegations.

Board president Cheryl Fannin, at the time, said the board would "consider a resignation" from Solet if members received it Feb. 26.

"If we don't get it before that point, we will consider termination," said Fannin, who was unavailable for comment this morning.

A substitute bus driver and part-time cafeteria worker filed an initial sexual harassment complaint against Solet on Dec. 13. Solet filed a complaint against the woman on Jan. 16.

A report by Concord-based HR On Call Inc. concluded Solet violated the school's anti-harassment policy by making "unwelcome invitations to her that made her feel uncomfortable." As for Solet's claim, 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."

HR On Call found Solet never initiated any counseling for the employee which he was empowered to do so he "must have found her actions to be acceptable under the (anti-harassment) policy."

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