Two hearings this week for Northeastern school superintendent
Northeastern School Superintendent Shawn Minnich's bail conditions were modified in a compromise agreement Wednesday, his defense attorney said.
He also was the subject of a two-day hearing Monday and Tuesday, ordered by a commission that's part of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Minnich, 44, of Nursery Road in Conewago Township, is accused of bursting into the East Manchester Township home of his estranged wife, Kathy Minnich, and physically assaulting her boyfriend, Christopher Leh, on Dec. 4. He's also accused of threatening to kill the man, Northeastern Regional Police have said.
Minnich remains free on bail, charged with aggravated assault, burglary, making terroristic threats, simple assault, criminal trespass, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and harassment.
He maintains his innocence and is a great superintendent, defense attorney Farley Holt has said.
Minnich's bail conditions were modified Wednesday in a compromise, Holt told The York Dispatch: Minnich has agreed not to go into the district's ninth-grade building during work hours because his estranged wife works in that building.
Kathy Minnich's protection from abuse order against her estranged husband allows "inadvertent contact" between them, but Shawn Minnich's bail conditions did not, so a modification was necessary, according to Holt.
The superintendent's aggravated assault charge — which wasn't filed until his Feb. 3 preliminary hearing — is among a list of criminal charges in the state Department of Education's school code that spurred the department to seek discipline, according to attorney Joe Korsak.
Seeking suspension: The state Department of Education is seeking the suspension of his teaching certificate and employment eligibility.
"It's only the aggravated assault charge that gives the department the jurisdiction to get involved in the case," said Korsak, who represents Shawn Minnich on that issue. "Testimony was taken Monday and Tuesday, and exhibits were submitted."
The hearings aren't open to the public, he said, but he confirmed there were multiple witnesses. Kathy Minnich was not among them, he said.
"I can tell you right now he's as clean an educator as I've ever seen. He's been a superintendent for three years, he's one of the youngest in the county, he's highly regarded by his board, and yesterday I heard nothing but the highest praise for his talents and abilities," Korsak said Wednesday.
The attorney added he's seen nothing to suggest the school district's reputation is being sullied and noted that the alleged incident occurred off-campus and was directed toward Kathy Minnich's boyfriend.
"I believe the evidence that was presented by the department does not meet the criteria for suspension," Korsak said. "At the end of the case as presented by the department, I did move for a dismissal."
What's next: The hearing officer who presided over the two-day hearing was appointed by the Professional Standards and Practices Commission, which is an arm of the state Department of Education, according to Korsak. The hearing officer was appointed only to take testimony, he said — not to issue a ruling.
The attorney said he requested a dismissal anyway, to preserve the issue.
The commission has requested an expedited transcript and is expected to set up a briefing schedule, he said.
Korsak said he expects the commission to take some type of action in Shawn Minnich's case at its next regular meeting, in early May. That would likely include hearing argument from both sides, he said.
The Northeastern school board and its solicitor, attorney Greg Gettle Sr., have repeatedly refused comment to The York Dispatch about the superintendent's criminal case or its ramifications.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.