Lacey Superintendent Suspended Without Pay; UPDATE: Brower Cleared
Lacey Township's school superintendent, accused of failing to report allegations that a teacher sexually assaulted a 4-year-old student, has been suspended without pay.
The Asbury Park Press reports that the Lacey Township Board of Education took the action Friday night against Sandra Brower. She initially was suspended with pay after the district learned of the charges.
Brower has pleaded not guilty to charges of official misconduct, obstruction and hindering apprehension. The counts stem from an incident that prosecutors say occurred in 2009, while the 46-year-old Brower was serving as Wall's assistant school superintendent.
If convicted of all charges, Brower could face up to 10 years in prison. She left Wall in 2011 to become superintendent in Lacey, where she was paid $167,500 in 2012.
According to an indictment handed up this week, Brower learned of the allegations when a school principal notified her via email. But when Wall police arrived the next day to investigate, Brower allegedly claimed she had just learned of the matter and said the email did not provide any details of the allegations.
That evening, prosecutors say, Brower told the district's information technology director to extract the emails of all district employees whom she believed had knowledge of the email.
District employees who knew about Brower's alleged false statements to police and her attempted cover-up were fired, transferred, or forced to retire or resign, the indictment also said.
No one from the district notified police about the alleged sex assault, which was reported to have occurred in a school bathroom, authorities said. Officers learned of the allegation from the state Division of Youth and Family Services.
Monmouth County prosecutors tell the newspaper that the sexual assault accusation proved to be unfounded.