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Former BGSU Firelands instructor pleads not guilty

Melissa Topey • Oct 9, 2010 at 9:07 AM

A former part-time BGSU Firelands instructor accused of making knife threats has pleaded not guilty.

Patrick Saunders, 62, of Norwalk, entered the plea in Huron Municipal Court through his attorney, John Allton.

Saunders filed the written plea Wednesday, though he was scheduled to appear in court Friday for the charges, which include carrying a concealed weapon and aggravated menacing.

He had a scheduling conflict, however, since he had to appear Friday in Norwalk Municipal Court for an unrelated incident in which he was charged with illegaltransportation of a firearm.

During a traffic stop last week, a Huron County Sheriff's deputy found a loaded gun inside a saddlebag on Saunders' motorcycle.

That case has been bound over to Huron County Common Pleas Court. No plea has been entered in that case.

"I can assure everyone he did not intend to harm anyone," Allton said, referring to the menacing case at BGSU Firelands. "Pat Saunders is not violent."

A former part-time American culture instructor, Saunders was arrested Tuesday morning at his Norwalk home on allegations he threatened a colleague at BGSU Firelands on Sept. 29.

A BGSU Firelands student told Erie County Sheriff's deputies Saunders was in a student government room when he pulled out a pocket knife and said he was going to cut associate dean Andrew Kurtz's guts out. Kurtz was not in the room at the time.

Saunders has no criminal history locally, according to local court records.

A review of his personnel file at BGSU shows he received a written reprimand for possible violations of copyright laws.

School administrators at the time said they were concerned about a possible violation after Saunders distributed copies of a movie to supplement a classroom discussion.

Saunders' two arrests in a span of three days was a result of "incredibly bad timing," Allton said.

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