Retrial underway in Mount St. Mary sex abuse reporting case | Arkansas Blog

Retrial underway in Mount St. Mary sex abuse reporting case

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KATHY GRIFFIN: On trial today.
  • KATHY GRIFFIN: On trial today.
David Koon reports from the county courthouse, where Kathy Griffin, a former Mount St. Mary Academy employee, is being retried on a charge of failing to report sexual abuse of a student by a sometime partner, Kelly O'Rourke, who was also a Mount St. Mary teacher.

A jury couldn't reach a verdict in Griffin's first trial in January. She insists she didn't know about O'Rourke's relationship with the student until after she was no longer a student at Mount St. Mary.  Her defense is that she had no legal obligation to report the relationship, though she ultimately did.

O'Rourke testified today that Griffin had suspicions about the relationship. Her testimony was part of a plea deal she reached before pleading guilty to a charge of abusing the teenager. She got a 15-year sentence, with all but 120 days suspended, and was ordered not to have contact with the girl for 15 years, plus fined $5,000. Yesterday, she was sent to jail for violating the terms of her probation by calling the girl from jail 56 times and connecting on 46 of them. She'll be resentenced next month.

KELLY O'ROURKE: Said Griffin questioned her repeatedly about relationship with teen.
  • KELLY O'ROURKE: Said Griffin questioned her repeatedly about relationship with teen.
O'Rourke testified today in a prison jump suit.  O'Rourke said her relationship with the victim began in the  victim's junior year of high school and lasted until O'Rourke broke it off in January 2012. At the time, O'Rourke was in a relationship and living with Griffin, as she had been "off and on" since 2003,

O'Rourke testified that Kathy Griffin started asking questions about whether O'Rourke was having a relationship with the victim up to six months before the victim told her parents about the relationship in February 2012, the month after the breakup. O'Rourke said Griffin asked several more times in the next few months, with O'Rourke saying she lied to Griffin about the relationship several times. At the time of the breakup, victim was 18 years, 3 months old.

The two women were fired by the school in March 2012 after an investigation into the relationship with the student.

The trial wasn't completed today. Before a recess until 9 a.m. Wednesday, defense lawyer Jeff Rosenzweig put the victim's parents on stand after judge and jury left to proffer testimony for the record. He asked if they were considering suing Mount St. Mary's, a question the judge had previously excluded from evidence. Both said they weren't considering it and hadn't hired an attorney to do so, though Rosensweig was eventually able to get the father to say it was "possible" he might consider one.




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