By Frank Lewis
The Scioto County Sheriff’s Office has identified the school where an employee saw a plea from an alleged abused child online and contacted 911, resulting in the rescue of four children and the arrest of three adults. Scioto County Sheriff’s Captain David Hall told the Daily Times the person was employed by Ohio Virtual Academy.
The girl sent the e-mail to her teacher at the Toledo-based Ohio Virtual Academy on Jan. 30. Hall said she asked the teacher to call 911 because she and her siblings were being “tied to the beds and beat.”
“I am proud of this teacher and all our staff at Ohio Virtual Academy. Kristen Stewart, Ohio Virtual Academy Senior Head of School, said. “We care deeply about the welfare and needs of all our students. Our teachers are extraordinarily dedicated, highly trained, and have special relationships with their students.”
The children later told deputies that they were restrained with ropes and chains for weeks at a time, sometimes longer, and only occasionally were untied to do schoolwork. They also described being forced to take their clothes off to be beaten with belts and paddles, and they had marks and scars to match their stories, Hall said.
Arrested was Juan Carlos Sanchez, 44, formerly from the Virgin Islands who had been staying on Collingwood Avenue. Sanchez has been charged with three counts of child endangerment, a felony of the second degree and two counts of rape, a felony of the first degree. Sanchez is being held on a $1 million bond. Also arrested was Edwina Louis, 52, also of Collingswood Avenue, the grandmother of the children. Louis has been charged with three counts of child endangerment, a felony of the second degree. She is being held on a $150,000 bond. The mother of the children, Bobbi Sue Pack, 31, also of Collingswood Avenue was also arrested. Pack has been charged with three counts of child endangerment, a felony of the second degree; and is being held on a $150,000 bond.
Detectives were also looking for a female identified as Leah Dillon, 24, to question involving the case, because they said she fled the residence after Children Services showed up. In an email from Hall to the Daily Times on Thursday, he said, “Contact has been made with Leah Dillon and we are no longer seeking her.”
According to the school’s website, the Ohio Virtual Academy (OHVA) is one of many virtual charter schools that is powered by the curriculum provider K12 Inc. The academy, like most K12 Inc. supplied schools, provides the student with textbooks, materials, and loaned computer from K12 so the student can access his/her online lessons. All 50 states have enacted laws that require school personnel to make a report in the event of a suspected child abuse case. These laws identify teachers as mandated reporters should they even have reasonable cause to suspect a student may be suffering from abuse.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.