Firelands ex-prof cleared of threat charge

Pryor won't seek to get his job back. HURON A part-time adjunct professor at BGSU Firelands accused of sending a threa
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

Pryor won't seek to get his job back.

HURON

A part-time adjunct professor at BGSU Firelands accused of sending a threatening e-mail to a professor has been cleared.

Donald Pryor, 36, of Collins, was arrested in April and charged with telecommunications harassment after sending what appeared to be a threatening e-mail to Christine Genovese, 47, an associate professor. The correspondence was sent shortly after the Virginia Tech shootings when college campuses across the country had a sense of heightened security.

Genovese taught Pryor's class on April 18, and sent him an e-mail about changes she wanted made.

She contacted authorities the next day after receiving e-mail from Pryor stating 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," according to a police report.

In the e-mail, Pryor also resigned his position. University officials sent him an e-mail verifying his resignation.

Pryor was later arrested as he was leaving campus. While being taken to the Erie County Jail, he expressed remorse and was crying. He told deputies he should have just resigned instead of "venting" and that he was mad and had "been under a lot of stress and not sleeping lately," according to Capt. Paul Sigsworth of the Erie County Sheriff's office.

Pryor told the Register shortly thereafter the issue had been blown out of proportion and he looked forward to his day in court. He got it this week.

"Mr. Pryor was found not guilty by a jury trial with eight jurors in Huron Municipal Court," his Sandusky attorney, Loretta Riddle, said. "The verdict was handed down Thursday after the trial started Wednesday. My client absolutely feels vindicated by this verdict."

Riddle said the reaction to her client's e-mail was influenced by the Virginia Tech shootings, but a key piece of evidence she presented slammed the door shut on the prosecution's case.

"In 2003, Ms. Genovese assaulted a female co-worker and used foul language like what my client was accused of doing, but the university never got the police involved," she said. "She sent an apology to the co-worker and a reprimand was put in her personnel file."

Riddle said Pryor has indicated he will not seek to be reinstated in his job.

"All along he proclaimed his innocence and just wanted his day in court," she said. "Several plea deals were offered, but he wanted to turn them down."

Lesley Ruszkowski, director of marketing and communications for BGSU Firelands, said, "It is good that the situation is resolved."