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Investigation continues into activity account funds

 

LA VERNIA -- Officials here continue their probe into the La Vernia Junior High School Activities Account.

Chief Bruce Ritchey of the La Vernia Police Department, the lead investigator on the case, said in a press release March 14 that his department continues working with the La Vernia Independent School District (ISD). He said police also have met several times with the personnel from the 81st Judicial District Attorney’s Office to discuss the investigation.

“Superintendent, Dr. Tom Harvey, and the LVISD has been working closely with the La Vernia Police Department throughout the investigation,” Ritchey said.

On Oct. 12, 2011, notes were sent home with the district’s students informing them about an investigation into expenditures from the account. At that time, Ritchey said the department was involved in a months-long probe into an allegation that a district staff member was misappropriating money from the account.

La Vernia ISD parent Jennifer Mocygemba, who was one of those who spoke out upon learning that the student activities account had run negative balances for two years, did not express concern over the duration of the probe.

“I think that the wheels of justice do turn slowly,” she said. “But it’s important for all of the facts to be taken into consideration.”

Moczygemba urged citizens to be patient with regard to the investigation, but to remain diligent when it came to seeking accountability from the district’s board and its administrators.

Ritchey would not reveal the name of the staff member being scrutinized or that staff member’s relation to the district. He also declined to comment on the results of a forensic audit that was ordered in October, which was to determine the amount of money in question.

“At this time, I can’t get into the particulars of the case, due to it being an ongoing investigation,” Ritchey said. “But I hope to wrap up the investigation in the not-too-distant future.”

Rumors continue to circulate about the investigation, with some indicating that the case would be presented to a Wilson County grand jury in April. Moczygemba said she heard that it could be considered in the summer.

Ritchey said there are still some grand jury subpoenas that have to be delivered and that evidence still is being gathered. Once this occurs, he said Assistant District Attorney Audrey Louis of the 81st Judicial District will review the case before deciding whether to submit it to the grand jury.

“It’s not up to me,” Ritchey said.

Harvey acknowledged that the district has been very careful about the information it releases about the situation, in an attempt not to hinder the investigation.

“We understand that the authorities are being diligent in this matter and that it takes time and extra care to accurately complete the investigative activities,” he said. “The district is also reviewing procedures and practices that will assist in avoiding similar incidents.”

 
 
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