Probe Of Butler School Water Problems Suggests Employee Misconduct

BUTLER (KDKA/AP) – A law firm hired by a western Pennsylvania school district to review water problems that forced an elementary school to close has found evidence that some employees may have deleted relevant emails and lied during its investigation.

The Butler Area School District closed Summit Elementary School and moved pupils to Broad Street Elementary School, which had been shuttered.

Summit was closed for two days in January after high levels of lead were found in its water. Further testing found E. coli bacteria in the well supplying the school, prompting its closure.

Attorney Brendan Lupetin is suing the school district on behalf of the welfare of the children in the school.

“The majority of the manifestations and the way it effects children don’t show up right away. They show up years later,” Lupetin said.

During the independent investigation done for the school district, attorney Michael Witherel went beyond the water issues “to address several incidents of alleged employees’ misconduct,” including “their alleged unauthorized retrieval and removal of emails, including emails of board members, legal counsel and others.” Also, “their alleged making of false statements, under oath and during the investigation.”

That concerns the Butler County District Attorney.

“That’s totally different from what happened with the water out there. If there is something after the fact, then that’s a whole different ball of wax that we’re going to have to look into,” said Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger.

Goldinger has put the results of the independent investigation into the hands of the state police and will await a recommendation whether criminal charges should be filed.

Superintendent Dale Lumley acknowledged high lead levels found in water tests in August hadn’t been rectified and resigned.

Now three more administrators are resigning after the investigative report filed by Witherel & Associates.

“I think there’s going to be and should be a cleaning of house in regards to people who allowed this to happen and put all these children at risk,” said Lupetin.

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(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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