Attorney: former Scranton School District employees to appear for hearing waiver; Kirijan to apply for ARD

·2 min read

Jun. 11—The case against three former Scranton School District employees, who state investigators last year said ignored lead and asbestos problems and put children at risk, will not head to a preliminary hearing next week.

Attorneys for the former employees — Superintendent Alexis Kirijan, Ed.D., Chief Operating Officer Jeff Brazil and daytime maintenance foreman Joseph Slack — will appear in court Monday for a hearing waiver. At that time, Kirijan will apply for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, known as ARD, her attorney, Frank Nocito, said Friday. A successful completion of the program would expunge any charges from her record.

Attempts to confirm any changes to the charges faced by Brazil and Slack were unsuccessful Friday.

Prosecutors issued subpoenas for dozens of potential witnesses in preparation for the hearing, which investigators said could last up to two weeks. Late this week, witnesses said they received phone calls from an agent saying they didn't have to appear. Court proceedings were also moved from the Lackawanna County Criminal Justice Center to Magisterial District Judge Kipp Adcock's Moscow office and begin at 9 a.m. Monday.

As part of the ongoing investigation of the district, a statewide grand jury recommended charges in September.

Kirijan faces 38 felony counts of endangering the welfare of children and 23 misdemeanor counts of recklessly endangering another person. As she led the district from 2015 to 2019, investigators said she knowingly put students and staff at risk by ignoring reports that showed lead and asbestos results that necessitated immediate action.

Brazil, who worked for the district from 2012 until his resignation last year, also faces 38 felony counts of endangering the welfare of children and 23 misdemeanor counts of recklessly endangering another person.

Slack, who investigators said knew about the lead issues but failed to follow through, faces 11 counts of endangering the welfare of children and eight counts of recklessly endangering another person.

Slack's attorney, Tim Hinton, declined to comment. Attempts to reach Brazil's attorney, Chris Caputo, were unsuccessful Friday.

The preliminary hearing is still scheduled for Monday, according to a statement from the state office of the attorney general issued Friday.

"Our office does not comment on ongoing negotiations," the statement read. "Our investigation allowed the current administration of the Scranton School District to take immediate action to protect students and staff, which has always been our top priority."

Contact the writer: shofius@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9133; @hofiushallTT on Twitter.

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