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Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Charges dismissed against St. Marys teacher

By Janie Southard
The court case against a long-time St. Marys teacher charged with public indecency and voyeurism has been dismissed.
The case against Tom Elsass, 55, was dismissed Tuesday for lack of evidence at the request of the Allen County prosecutor. A trial had been set for Feb. 18 in Lima Municipal Court.
The St. Marys board of education suspended Elsass, a 35-year teacher, without pay following an incident Sept. 3, 2009, and his not guilty plea to charges of public indecency, a second degree misdemeanor, and voyeurism, a third degree misdemeanor.
He allegedly was seen touching himself inappropriately while looking at a group of girls outside Elida High School in Lima, where a girls volleyball match between St. Marys and Elida was in progress. Elsass was at the school for the game.
According to the Allen County Sheriff's report, Elsass was observed by a 50-year-old Lima resident and his 6-year-old daughter. The report states the resident claimed to have witnessed the alleged incident from his van at 8:15 p.m.
Reportedly, the adult witness's credibility was found to be questionable. The child's age also was reported to be a factor.
Elsass stated to the sheriff's deputy that he had a stain on the front of his shorts and tried to wipe it off by brushing the inside and outside of his shorts.
St. Marys City Schools board of education President Rees McKee said this morning the board is awaiting outcome on a hearing with the Ohio Department of Education scheduled for March before any action is taken.
"(ODE) didn't want to go ahead with the hearing until the trial concluded," McKee said.
Elsass is represented by Columbus attorney Jonathan Tyack, who was unavailable for comment at press time. Also unavailable was St. Marys Superintendent Mary Riepenhoff.
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