Firelands prof charged over e-mail|Collins man charged with telecommunications harassment

HURON A BGSU Firelands professor landed in jail, charged with sending a threatening e-mail to another professor. Donal
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

HURON

A BGSU Firelands professor landed in jail, charged with sending a threatening e-mail to another professor.

Donald Pryor, 36, an adjunct professor of biology and chemistry, is accused of sending a rambling and threatening e-mail Wednesday evening to Christine Genovese, 47, a full-time faculty member in the science department. Concerned for her safety, she notified school officials.

The note stated in part, "May God punish my enemies since I can't. ...no money and no power. Which power is ... I know I shouldn't say this ... but exactly what I seek. I will go with my gut vibe and say go f*** yourself."

Capt. Paul Sigsworth of the Erie County Sheriff's office, which is contracted to provide security for BGSU Firelands, explained the series of events that led to Pryor's arrest.

"In light of what has happened at Virginia Tech, we felt the need to respond quickly and appropriately on this matter," he said. "When we learned of the e-mail, we asked Dr. Genovese to report it to school officials immediately and we started the investigation."

Deputy Jeff Hippely, who is assigned to the Firelands campus, reviewed the e-mail with Genovese and Mark Charville, the school's director of budget and operations.

Sigsworth said the investigation revealed Pryor had been reported as "acting strangely lately and had been asked to leave buildings on campus late at night on several occasions recently, including one night that he was asked to leave at 3:30 a.m. as the campus policy is that everyone should be out by 11 p.m."

Genovese told Hippely and Charville that Pryor had spoken with her on Wednesday and she ended up teaching his class. After the class, she sent him an e-mail detailing changes she wanted made to the class. She stated that she has had problems with Pryor in the past and did not plan to rehire him after this semester.

Shortly after the Thursday meeting between school and law enforcement officials, Pryor was arrested while leaving campus. He was charged with telecommunications harassment and taken to the Erie County jail.

During his arraignment in Huron Municipal Court, Pryor was granted a week's continuance to hire legal counsel. His bond was set at $5,000 and he must stay off of the Firelands campus and away from Genovese. He is also required to successfully complete a mental evaluation.

Huron's Law Director, M. Lee McDermond, said the move is as close to a restraining order the court can legally issue.

"In Huron Municipal Court, we can't formally issue a restraining order," he said. "But what was issued as part of the conditions of his bond is in essence, the same thing."

Firelands Dean James Smith said school officials are cooperating with the investigation and doing what they need to ensure safety on campus.

"I sent out an internal memo to the appropriate staff and faculty chairs concerning the incident," Smith said. "At this point, no information was sent to all of the students."

Smith said an upper level biology and chemistry professor will take over Pryor's classes, but safety is still foremost on the minds of officials.

"I don't think he wants to go back to jail, so I am confident he won't break the terms of his bond," Smith said. "But it is nice to have the sheriff's sub-station here on campus and alert for any problems. Their response has helped tremendously."

In his e-mail, Pryor stated that he was resigning from Firelands. After checking with legal counsel, Charville said he was informed to send a letter to Pryor's Collins, Ohio, address informing him of the school's intent.

Genovese continues teaching her regular classes and declined to comment, referring all queries to Smith and Sigsworth. Pryor did not respond to calls seeking comment.