James Trent, vice president, of the Kettering school board was a no-show at Tuesday’s meeting – the same day his attorney filed not guilty pleas on his behalf on charges related to sexual imposition and disorderly conduct. The charges stem from allegations from a woman in his neighborhood.
Trent’s attorney, David Williamson, filed the not guilty pleas in Kettering Municipal Court.
Next step will be a pre-trial hearing, which had not been scheduled as of Wednesday.
No one mentioned Trent, 80, during the public board meeting in which the board approved a 2013-14 general fund of $83.9 million for the district, among other business.
President George Bayless and members Jim Ambrose, Julie Gilmore and Lori Simms withdrew into an executive session to discuss the case. Afterwards, Bayless refused to comment about the board’s deliberation.
Kettering Schools superintendent James Schoenlein, who said he had heard no comments about Trent’s charges from the public, was called into the executive session. He would only say, “This is a board matter,” before the start of a later meeting to rally volunteers who will campaign for a 4.89-mill additional school levy on the November ballot.
The female told Kettering Police that Trent tried to hold her in an embrace and kiss her aggressively while grabbing and squeezing her buttocks.
Trent has been a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, superintendent and board president for Kettering City Schools. He has been an adjunct instructor at Wright State University and has done educational consulting for schools in seven states. He has served on the board for 18 years. His current term is scheduled to run through 2015. He received 2,500 more votes than any other board candidate in 2011.
Ambrose, Bayless and Gilmore are all running unopposed for re-election on Nov. 5.
Trent is the second area educator and second elected official to face morals charges in two months.
Former Oakwood School Board member and Ohio Education Association president James Uphoff, 75, was indicted in August on a felony count of possessing child pornography. On Tuesday, Uphoff’s arraignment and plea agreement hearing in U.S. District Court was reset for Oct. 17.
Longtime Clayton City Council member Robert E. Peters, 82, was charged with disorderly conduct after a Northmont City Schools employee said he fondled her breast in the school district’s office on Aug. 30. He has entered a plea of not guilty.