- COMMUNITY LINKS
ST. MARYS - John Augustus "Jake" Reed, 18, of 370 Brusselles St., St. Marys, was held to court on a misdemeanor charge of defiant trespass and had a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct dismissed following a preliminary hearing and arraignment at District Judge Donald Wilhelm's office on Tuesday afternoon.
Wilhelm set standard bail at $1,000 non-monetary, unsecured, with a formal arraignment scheduled for July 5 at 3 p.m. at the Elk County Courthouse.
The charge stems from an April 28 incident when Reed and fellow recent St. Marys Area High School (SMAHS) graduate Connor Rohrback disguised themselves as janitors and entered into Elk County Catholic High School (ECCHS) at the start of the school day.
During the hearing, ECCHS Principal Sandy Florig and City of St. Marys Police Department Patrolman Anthony Pistner underwent questioning from Elk County District Attorney Bradley Kraus and attorney Karl Geci, who represented Reed.
The hearing began as Florig took the stand and was questioned by Kraus, who initially asked her about specific signage that is in place at ECCHS directing visitors where to go upon entering the school.
Florig answered there are signs directing visitors to the main doors at the center of the school, where they are then buzzed in by office personnel. The doors are unlocked from 7 to 7:55 a.m., locked from 7:55 a.m. to 2:25 p.m. and are unlocked again after school.
Kraus asked when and how she was informed of the incident.
Florig said she teaches first and second periods and went upstairs to her classroom at 7:30 a.m. She said she was made aware of the situation around 8 a.m. by ECCHS Assistant Principal John Schneider, who related the conversation he had with Reed.
"Mr. Schneider came upstairs and said he had been notified by one of the teachers who works out in the morning in our weight room, that as she came out of the weight room into the upper hall by the gyms, she noticed a gentleman mopping or sweeping and knew that he was not one of our custodians," Florig said.
According to Florig, the teacher then went down to the main office, where she notified Schneider that there was someone in the upper level who was pretending to be a janitor. Next, Schneider approached Reed and asked him what he was doing, to which Reed replied that he was a janitor and he was sweeping. Schneider answered that he was aware Reed was not a janitor. Reed then responded that he was volunteering, after which Schneider said Reed had not been asked to sweep and requested he leave the school immediately.
Schneider watched Reed exit the building and drive off in his vehicle.
Florig added that at that point in time, the police had not been contacted because it was thought there was only one person in the building.