Grand jury to hear 2nd teacher case
— It’s now up to the Lawrence County grand jury to determine if the sexual misconduct case against a former Chesapeake High School teacher will go to trial.
Donald Clark Jr., who had taught math, was arrested May 16 and charged with one count of sexual battery, a 3rd degree felony where one must engage in sexual contact with another.
During a preliminary hearing Monday morning in Lawrence County Municipal Court, Clark Jr., 29, waived his right to a preliminary hearing sending the case immediately to the grand jury.
Wearing a navy blue blazer Clark slipped into the Chesapeake courtroom about 90 minutes into the morning court docket session. He conferred briefly with his attorney, Derick Fisher, then stood before Judge Donald R. Capper.
When Capper asked Clark if he was agreeing to waive his right to a preliminary hearing, Clark answered affirmatively in a voice barely audible to the gallery.
By waiving the hearing, Clark will remain free on the $75,000 property bond he posted May 19.
The case began in mid-May after a two-day investigation by Lawrence County sheriff’s deputies. Lawrence County’s Children’s Services had first been contacted on allegations of a male teacher in the Chesapeake system having “inappropriate contact with a female student,” according to a press release at the time from Sheriff Tim Sexton.
Clark, who was also an assistant basketball coach at Chesapeake, was asked to resign from the school system about a week before he was arrested. He had taught at Chesapeake for two years and before that a year at the Fairland school district.
He faces a 3rd degree felony because of his position as a teacher.
“Anyone with authority over that person, it kicks it up to statutory sexual battery,” Fisher said in an earlier interview.
Otherwise, if the person is 16 or older, it would be contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor in the 4th degree, the attorney had said.
Clark, who was in court Monday with his parents and other supporters, left quickly after his hearing without making any comment. Fisher also declined comment.