As part of my desire for transparency and accepting responsibility for my past, I am providing a summary of the court proceedings and events leading up to that fateful day:
I was employed by Delaware Valley Regional School District from July 1994 - October 2007; first as the school business administrator (chief financial officer) and later as the Superintendent of Schools (chief executive officer).
Throughout my tenure, I performed my duties well and enjoyed a high level of support from the board of education and staff. I was a respected professional among my peers and active in various professional administrator associations at the county and state level, including several leadership positions.
For eight years, 2000 - 2007, I was part of the adjunct faculty in the Graduate School of Education at Delaware Valley College Doylestown, Pennsylvania. I was given the wonderful opportunity to teach aspiring school administrators as they pursued their Master's Degree. I loved every minute of it!
Unfortunately, all of the positive contributions made to my profession over the years, were overshadowed by my violation of the sacred principles of trust, integrity and character.
I allowed greed to control my decisions which was driven by an attitude of arrogance and pride. Unknown to me at the time, the beginning of the end began when I was elevated to the position of Superintendent of Schools.
A selection committee was formed to conduct a search for my successor. The committee recommended a candidate to me which I ultimately supported and brought to the board of education. Our professional relationship began to deteriorate within the first year.
Shortly after returning to the district after an extended vacation, I was suspended from my duties as Superintendent of Schools. The day before, it was learned the financial officer raised allegations to an attorney which set into motion a series of events wherein I was to experience my own kind of September 11th.
I was suspended with pay on September 11, 2007.
I resigned my position effective October 15, 2007.
In January 2009, I appeared before Judge Bumb, US District Court in Camden New Jersey to enter a guilty plea on one count of embezzling $90,000. Four months later, I was back in Court for sentencing. I was given a federal sentence of 12 months 1 day; ordered to pay restitution in an amount exceeding $117,000; and, ordered to request an appearance before the board of education to express an apology. Judge Bumb ordered me to write a letter to the school district requesting a meeting at my urging, since I believe it was appropriate to appear before the school community to answer for my actions.
I also faced similar charges in state court for the same underlining offense and was subject to the same penalties.
I self-surrendered on June 24, 2009 to the authorities at the Federal Medical Center - Devens in Ayers, Massachusetts and was released from a Halfway House in Philadelphia on May 7, 2010.
I began complying with the court order of restitution upon entering prison and have been making regular monthly payments since my release.
You may notice that I was ordered to pay $27,000 beyond my unlawful gain which is designed to fully reimburse the school district for any professional costs associated with my case. Even though I was ordered to make restitution by Judge Bumb - and am in compliance with that order, I also view the payment of restitution from the perspective of scripture.
As noted elsewhere on this site, my life has been radically changed by these events and I am committed to honoring God's Word in this area. Here is what God says about my crime:
“Suppose one of you sins against your associate and is unfaithful to the Lord. Suppose you cheat in a deal involving a security deposit, or you steal or commit fraud, or you find lost property and lie about it, or you lie while swearing to tell the truth, or you commit any other such sin. If you have sinned in any of these ways, you are guilty. You must give back whatever you stole, or the money you took by extortion, or the security deposit, or the lost property you found, or anything obtained by swearing falsely. You must make restitution by paying the full price plus an additional 20 percent to the person you have harmed. On the same day you must present a guilt offering." Leviticus 6:2-5 New Living Translation (NLT)
It is worthy to note that my former employer has been made whole by receiving full reimbursement through an insurance claim as reported in the press. That does not impact my responsbility to make restitution in accordance with the schedule set by the court or before God as stated above.
Sentencing Statement before US District Court Judge Bumb on May 8, 2009:
"I stand here before you not for any righteous act, but because I have violated the laws of this state and consequently have sinned before Almighty God. I am deeply ashamed by my willful actions and know that I betrayed the trust that the Board of Education placed in me – and for that I am deeply sorry. It has been my desire from the beginning of this case, to appear before the Board of Education to express my sincerest apologies and remorse and to ultimately ask for their forgiveness. However, upon advise of counsel I have not done that and instead wish to convey to the Delaware Valley Regional Board of Education these thoughts through this venue today.
Judge, if I could turn back the clock I would. But, there is nothing that I can do about the past; I can only look toward the future. So, it is my heartfelt desire to use this “Valley” in my life to redirect me in a way that this crime will serve to catapult me toward serving others. I was formally motivated by a desire of ambition and greed; I now am motivated by a desire to put others before self and live out my remaining days following the tenets of my Faith, which is simply obeying my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Judge, I know that you are just and have been placed in authority over me. Whatever sentence you deem appropriate, I want you to know that I willingly submit to that authority and will carry out the sentence with the most honorable intentions. Today is a watershed moment and I will not waste another day living for me.
Thank you for listening to my heartfelt thoughts."
Letter I sent to the Board of Education dated May 14, 2009:
"I am not sure how to properly begin a letter to my former employer that would adequately convey remorse for my actions that led us to this point in time. For many days since leaving Del Val, I have often agonized at how devastating my crime was on the school and community. I know the stakeholders have been so angered over this and the Board of Education overwhelmed with the feelings of betrayal. It is completely understandable.
I have committed a crime and have suffered many devastating consequences from it, including entering federal prison in the near future. The consequences will forever impact my life and is something that will stay with me as I live out my remaining days. What has really hurt is knowing the grief I caused so many people I respected – and who respected me. Many of the Board Members, I worked with were good friends, I simply do not know how to suitably express my remorse, other to say, I am deeply sorry for the theft and ensuing anguish I brought upon the district.
From the early days of my suspension to last Friday in Federal Court, I have often expressed to my family and attorney my desire to contact the Board of Education to request an appearance. However, I was advised not to and although disappointed, I understood and respected that advice.
During the past almost two years, I have come to terms with my crime, and its consequences, but always felt I was ‘running’ away from the district wherein I brought about so much anguish. As a superintendent, I was a role model for students and staff and have failed them all. I have obviously set an example of what NOT to do! There is nothing I can do to ‘turn back the clock’ but in the spirit of bringing closure to this tumultuous time in history, I would offer to appear in person, before the Board of Education and/or any/all stakeholders to express my remorse to the Delaware Valley family.
I understand if the school district declines and simply desires to move forward. I will leave that decision up to you; however, I wanted you to know my sincere desire.
As part of the sentencing order, I was directed by Judge Bumb to communicate this letter to you. When Judge Bumb asked, what I would think if she ordered me to communicate to you, my response was that I would welcome it. In short, although I am writing based upon a court order, it has also fulfilled a personal desire since my suspension.
I wish you all the best as you move forward and leave behind this dark time in district history. I am so ashamed of my failures and pray that one day you will find it possible to forgive me."
Note: The district did not respond to this letter.