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Failure to report abuse charges to proceed against athletic director

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of LaPorte Community School Corp.’s athletic director Edward Gilliland’s attempt to dismiss two counts of misdemeanor failure to report child abuse filed against him. The charges stem from the conduct of LaPorte High School’s junior volleyball coach Robert Ashcraft.

After 15-year-old K.T. joined Ashcraft’s team in August 2007, some players’ parents told Gilliland that Ashcraft had given some team members foot rubs, texts, and hung out before school with K.T. by himself. Gilliland and head volleyball coach Marybeth Lebo deemed the behavior inappropriate and notes were made in Ashcraft’s file, but the authorities were never alerted.

Ashcraft did commit several sex offenses with K.T., which led to his convictions. In October 2008, Gilliland and Lebo prepared a resignation letter for Ashcraft that did not mention the behavior documented in his file. A month later, police interviewed Gilliland about Ashcraft’s “alleged misconduct” with K.T., but Gilliland said he had no knowledge that the reason Ashcraft resigned was because of that behavior.

An investigation in October 2010 led to two Class B failure to report child abuse or neglect charges filed against Gilliland. He and Lebo sought to dismiss the charges; the Court of Appeals recently left Lebo’s charges in place.

Gilliland argued the prosecution was barred by the two-year statute of limitations, he hadn’t engaged in concealment, and the charging information failed to state facts sufficient to constitute an offense or allow him to prepare a defense.

The trial court affirmed the charges but ordered that any offense committed prior to Oct. 5, 2007, would be outside the statute of limitations because any concealment did not begin until November 2008 when Gilliland spoke to investigators.

“We conclude that Gilliland concealed his offenses from the very beginning, thereby tolling the statute of limitations, and that the State could not have discovered sufficient evidence by exercise of due diligence to charge him prior to October 2010,” Judge Terry Crone wrote for the majority in Edward Gilliland v. State of Indiana,
46A03-1202-CR-97. “Thus, we agree with the trial court that the charges were timely filed, but we conclude that any offense committed prior to October 5, 2007, would not be outside the statute of limitations and therefore the State does not have to amend the charging information in that respect.”

Judge L. Mark Bailey agreed with his colleagues that the state alleged facts sufficient to constitute the charged offenses, but agreed with the trial court that the concealment did not occur until the November 2008 interview with police.  

“I believe that, if Gilliland lied to officers on November 21, 2008, he committed a positive act, concealing Ashcraft’s crime and thus his own offense of failure to report. However, I disagree with the majority opinion to the extent that it suggests concealment might arise from remaining silent about one’s own crime, without more,” Bailey wrote.

 

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