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'Extremely delusional' North Olmsted youth pastor sentenced for sexual relationship with teen
North Olmsted youth pastor Brian Mitchell, 31, was sentenced Thursday for carrying on a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl. CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A North Olmsted youth pastor will spend a decade in prison for carrying on a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old member of his church. Brian Mitchell, 31, sat Thursday with his brow furrowed for most of the 90-minute hearing where Cuyahoga County Judge Patrick Corrigan sentenced him to 10 years in prison. Mitchell -- a husband and father of three children under the age of 8-- was the youth pastor at Columbia Road Baptist Church in North Olmsted when he met the victim. He pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual battery. "I'm so sorry to (the) family," Mitchell said. "I can't imagine the work and effort you've had to put into fixing your family." The girl in a letter to the judge that she looked up to Mitchell, and that she sought him out to learn how to live a more spiritual life through religion. Mitchell began sending her text messages that became more and more frequent. Someone brought it to the attention of church leaders and the texting stopped for a time. He started up again, and the girl said the tone of the messages quickly turned from innocent and fun to serious. She said he complained about his wife and their marital problems. She wrote that she wanted the texts to stop but felt scared to say anything because he was a powerful figure in the church and in her life. One day, he drove to her home and told her to come out to his car. He kissed her and told her he wanted to see her again. The next time he drove out to her home, he had sex with her in his car. Another time he had sex with her at her home while his wife was out of town, Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Kristen Karkutt said. "I did not give him permission," the girl wrote. "I clearly said 'no, didn't want to.' I felt like he tricked me." Mitchell directed her to delete text message exchanges between the two and told her never to tell anyone. He picked her up during her lunch break from school. He sent her flowers for her birthday, then asked her mother at church if she knew who sent them. Normally an outgoing teen who played sports and worked two jobs while going to school, she found herself unable to get out of bed. She struggled in school. Once the relationship came to light, the church reported the accusations to Fairview Park police. The girl's mother said in court that church officials told her their family couldn't return to the church until she apologized to Mitchell's wife. Defense attorney Ian Friedman said Mitchell was never aware of that. The family has since left the church. The girl wrote that she still has nightmares and displays what Corrigan called textbook symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. "This is a perfect example of the psychological damage caused by these types of crimes," Corrigan said. Friedman said Mitchell acknowledges that he betrayed the girl, her family, his own family and the church. "The whirlwind two or three months of Snapchats and texts and the secrecy involved created an adrenaline- and lust-filled situation where he felt like there could be a future," Friedman said.   Mitchell, who received about three-dozen letters of support given to the judge, apologized to the girl's family and said he was sorry for what he did, not that he got caught.  He said that he dreamed of being a father and asked for leniency in order to take care of his kids. Corrigan, who had the option to sentence him anywhere between one and 20 years in prison, did not adopt Friedman's recommendation for house arrest. "Your delusional excuse -- that there were emotions and love involved -- is troubling," Corrigan told Mitchell. "That's extremely delusional." To comment on this story, please visit our crime and courts comments section.
4572 points by The Plain Dealer | Cuyahoga County Ohio Text messaging North Olmsted Ohio Fairview Park Ohio SMS Marriage Olmsted Township Cuyahoga County Ohio Mother
State is ignoring the public's wishes in its ESSA plan, 10 local superintendents say
Local superintendents say the Ohio Department of Education's should have made more changes to testing and state report cards in its state education plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) CLEVELAND, Ohio - A group of local superintendents and other educators questioned Monday the Ohio Department of Education's avoidance of any real changes the public sought in its proposed state education plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The group of 10 superintendents, mostly from Lorain County, said in a joint letter Monday that residents made it clear in a series of public meetings and surveys late last year that they wanted less testing of students, changes to state report cards and more stable expectations from year to year. That feedback was supposed to help the department create a new testing and accountability plan to replace the old federal mandates and repercussions of the No Child Left Behind law. But the state's proposed plan makes none of the changes the public wanted, other than to skip them in the name of providing stability. The proposal differs little from what the state does now.  "Ohio had a chance to make some significant reductions to testing," the letter states. "Ohio's educators, parents, students and other constituents waited patiently for Ohio's interpretation and plans for implementing a more flexible and locally controlled accountability system that the ESSA permitted." It addded: "At its core, Ohio's plan does not address nor incorporate the flexibility that was provided through the shift from NCLB to ESSA," the letter reads. Jim Lloyd, superintendent of the Olmsted Falls school district and a leader of the group despite representing a Cuyahoga County district, was more blunt, calling the state plan "No Child Left Behind version 2.0." "They got a mouthful of what the public wanted, which was a reduction in assessments and that's not in there at all," Lloyd said. "I don't get it. I just don't." Superintendents signing the letter were from the Amherst, Avon, Clearview, Columbia Station, Elyria, Keystone, North Olmsted, Oberlin, Olmsted Falls,. They were also joined by officials from the Berea and Wellington school districts. The group plans to have a public forum Feb 22 to share information about the state's plan and gather more feedback. The 7 p.m. forum will be at Avon High School, 37545 Detroit Rd. Check back soon for a look at the changes the local educators want made in the plan.  Or look below for the group's letter.  Click here for more about the state's proposed plan, which is scheduled to be sent to the U.S. Department of Education for approval by April 3. ODE officials said earlier this week that submission of the plan is not the end of the state's review of its accountability plan. They have also noted that it is not simple to eliminate testing, even to the minimum required by federal law. Several tests students take now are mandated by state law and would need law changes to eliminate them. A special task force is also reviewing the state's test score requirements for high school students to graduate. That panel's recommendations,  which could prompt more testing changes, is not due until mid-April. Some state school board members are also uneasy with how few changes the plan makes. They questioned State Superintendent Paolo Demaria Monday about the unresolved testing issues in the plan, asking if  the state could wait until September to submit a more complete plan, as allowed under the law.  The U.S. Department of Education will have more guidance on March 13  for states about how their plans should look. A delay would also allow the state legislature to make any testing changes  Board member Stephanie Dodd said after the meeting that she may ask the board to vote next month for a delay. "I don't know the need for the rush," Dodd said. // DV.load("https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3461368-Ohio-ESSA-Draft-Plan-Collective-Response-Updated.js", { width: 600, height: 800, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-3461368-Ohio-ESSA-Draft-Plan-Collective-Response-Updated" }); // ]]>
434 points by The Plain Dealer | Cuyahoga County Ohio Olmsted Township Cuyahoga County Ohio High school United States Lorain County Ohio School district Berea Ohio Education
14 die in Cuyahoga County this weekend from heroin and fentanyl, 70 for 2017
Cuyahoga County saw 14 suspected heroin and fentanyl overdoses from Friday to Sunday, the medical examiner said. CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cuyahoga County residents continue to die at a rapid clip from heroin and fentanyl overdoes after a deadly 2016. Fourteen people died this weekend in suspected heroin and fentanyl overdoses, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner. Some 24 total have died from the drugs in the first five days of the month. There were at least 46 heroin and fentanyl deaths in January. That number could rise to 57 after toxicology tests are finalized, according to the medical examiner. The death-rate for heroin, fentanyl and other opiate deaths have skyrocketed from 64 in 2011 to at least 517 in 2016, according to the medical examiner.  The medical examiner has not yet put out its final report on exactly how many deaths have been attributed to opiates for 2016. But the county more than doubled the number of deaths in 2015, the worst on record at the time. Of the 14 who died from Friday through Sunday, 12 were from Cleveland, one was from Willowick and one was from Brook Park. The youngest victim was 25 and the oldest was 57. Nine were black, one was Indian and four were white, according to the medical examiner's data. The 46 confirmed heroin and fentanyl overdose cases in January ranged in age from 23 to 67. Thirty-two were men and 14 were women, the medical examiner said. Thirty-two victims were white, 13 were black and one was Hispanic. The victims lived throughout Cuyahoga County and elsewhere. Twenty-three were Cleveland residents, three were from Lakewood, and there was one each from Beachwood, Berea, Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Euclid, Garfield Heights, Independence, Maple Heights, Middleburg Heights, Newburgh Heights, Olmsted Township and Parma. The eight out-of-county residents who died in Cuyahoga County were from Brunswick, Canal Fulton, Columbia Station, Concord, New London and Wickliffe. Two were from North Ridgeville, the medical examiner said.  The medical examiner also said there was a spike in cocaine-related deaths in January, including 19 who died from doses of the drug mixed with heroin, fentanyl or both. 
1096 points by The Plain Dealer | Cuyahoga County Ohio Cities in Ohio Area code 216 Berea Ohio Brook Park Ohio North Olmsted Ohio Middleburg Heights Ohio Olmsted Township Cuyahoga County Ohio
Drunk woman flips her vehicle on I-71; drunk man drives car into construction ditch: Brook Park police blotter
Brook Park police arrested an intoxicated Berea woman after she lost control of her vehicle and rolled it over on I-71 southbound near Snow Road. Also, a Brook Park man was arrested after he crashed and abandoned his car in a construction-zone ditch. File photo  Operating a vehicle under the influence, Interstate 71: An intoxicated Berea woman, 46, was arrested and hospitalized after she lost control of her vehicle and rolled it over at about 1:15 a.m. Nov. 4 on I-71 southbound near Snow Road. The woman and her passenger were taken to Southwest General Health Center by ambulance. Their injuries were not life-threatening. Police didn't say what kind of vehicle the woman was driving. Operating a vehicle under the influence, Fry Road: A Brook Park man, 55, was arrested at about 3:15 a.m. Nov. 5 after he crashed and abandoned his car in a construction-zone ditch on Fry near Sylvia Drive. The man was intoxicated. Police found him sitting on his front porch about five minutes after the accident. He was not injured. Disorderly conduct, Holland Road: A 64-year-old woman fought her daughter-in-law, 46, at about 6:55 p.m. Nov. 6 in a Holland driveway. Either the woman or daughter-in-law live on Holland but police didn't say which one. A neighbor called police after seeing the women fighting. Police didn't say how they diffused the situation. They referred the case to the city prosecutor for review. Damaged property, Holland Road-Sylvia Drive: A concrete mixer damaged an empty school bus at about 8:30 a.m. Nov. 3 near the Holland-Sylvia intersection. The concrete mixer, moving at about 5 mph, backed into the side of the bus. No one was hurt, and the vehicles were not badly damaged. Disorderly conduct, Cedar Point Road: A Brook Park man, 48, and a North Olmsted man, 19, fought each other at about 8:15 p.m. Oct. 31 outside a Cedar Point Road house. A neighbor called police after seeing the fight. The men were not intoxicated. Police advised both men not to fight anymore. Disturbance, Bowfin Boulevard: A Bowfin man, 37, called police at about 8:20 p.m. Nov. 7 and said his neighbor was harassing his pit bull dog. The neighbor was snapping scissors at the dog, who was outside in his owner's yard. Police advised the neighbor to stop his behavior. Operating a vehicle under the influence, Smith Road: A Cleveland man, 50, was arrested at about 1:50 a.m. Nov. 6 after police caught him speeding on Smith. An open container of beer was in his car. Operating a vehicle under the influence, Brookpark Road: A Mount Vernon woman, 41, was arrested at about 5 p.m. Nov. 5 after police saw the car she was driving hit the curb several times. She was drunk and had 11 bags of medication in her car. Sudden illness, Glenway Drive: A Glenway man, 41, was found unconscious by his mother at about 9:30 p.m. Nov. 9 in his home. He had overdosed on heroin, and was taken to Southwest General Health Center. To comment on this story, please visit the crime and courts comments page.
1 points by The Plain Dealer | Cuyahoga County Ohio Olmsted Township Cuyahoga County Ohio Transport Concrete Pit Bull North Olmsted Ohio
Sister Corita's hunger center at St. Augustine has roasted 1,500 turkeys for Thanksgiving: My Cleveland (photos and video)
Sister Corita Ambro is in her 46th year at St. Augustine, where she founded and leads a hunger center serving about 20,000 people for Thanksgiving around the region. Watch video Sister Corita Ambro has served St. Augustine Catholic Church for 46 of her 81 years. Among many other duties, she founded and leads its meals program. She and her volunteer crew normally feed 100 to 250 people three times a day. For Thanksgiving, though, they've prepared some 20,000 meals to be served at shut-in's homes or at 29 churches from Huron to Youngstown. Cleveland creds: lifelong local, raised in Olmsted Falls Currently lives: Tremont Age: 81 Schooling: St. Joseph Academy, St. John's College in Cleveland, master's in special education from Canisius College, Buffalo. Favorite locally owned restaurants: Prosperity, Grumpy's, Sokolowski's University Inn, Bruno's, Marie's How do you roast turkey for 20,000 diners? Sister: We start to cook 1,500 turkeys in September or October and refreeze them. We finished up Wednesday. How do you scrounge up 1,500 turkeys? Sister: My food is almost all donations, or we purchase it with donated money. The Elk & Elk law firm donates at least 250 turkeys every year. Do diners have to be poor? Sister: There are no requirements. But the biggest thing that brings people here is they need the money for rent and utilities. One day this week, I had six people come to me with eviction notices. I sometimes have to choose which families I can help. I had a family of eight come. They showed me pictures of their old rental house. It was filthy with bugs and rats. One of the six kids got bit by a rat. We got the place condemned. I put the family up the Days' Inn in Lakewood until we could find them a home. If I can do nothing but love them, I'm doing something for them. Many of them haven't been loved. Is it hard relating to the homeless? Sister: The homeless teach you how to break your prejudices so you can love them and share God with them. These guys who might be sleeping on the streets say, "I'm blessed, sister." I thank God for them, because they teach me to be grateful for what I have. I learned to hug people here. A guy named Jimmy had four, five coats that stunk and food in his beard. One day a friend of mine came in. I gave him a big hug and a smooch. Jimmy says, "You've never greeted me that way." I said, "One of these days, Jimmy, I will." I went home and cried my eyes out because I couldn't hug him. Every day, he asked me, "Is today the day?" "No, but it's coming." On a hot August day, I was having a bad day. He said, "Is today the day?" I gave him a hug and a kiss. My heart opened up. To this day, there's no person I can't hug. Who helps out here? Sister: Nuns, people from other churches, a lot of schools: the Westlake schools, Brooklyn's, St. Ignatius, St. Ed., Hawken, St. Joseph Academy... Speaking of St. Joseph, give us a little history about your order, now called the Congregation of St. Joseph, and about St. Augustine. Sister: Our first local convent was here in the 1800s on the property of what's now St. Theodosius. We helped found St. Augustine in the 1860s on Professor. The current St. Augustine was built in the 1860s by Pilgrim Congregational. They sold it to the diocese in the 1890s and moved down the street. Where have you served? Sister: I started teaching first through third grades at St. Aloysius in Glenville, then St. Bridget in Parma, St. Columbkille in Parma, St. Brendan in North Olmsted, St. John's in Lorain, and A.G. Bell in Cleveland for the deaf. So how do you say Augustine? Sister: Au-GUS-tine. Tell us about your 46 years here. Sister: Father [Joseph] McNulty has been here 43 years. I tell him I hired him. I came basically to work with the deaf. The church serves the neighborhood, but it's also a magnet for the deaf, blind, mentally ill and developmentally challenged from all over. We have a deaf club here, too. The masses are beautiful. Both priests sign. The communities work so well together. The handshake of peace sometimes takes 10 minutes. Normally you'd just shake hands with your neighbors. But the deaf people started going over to the blind community, and everyone started giving the handshake to each other. I also taught religious education. And I supervise the summer camp. How's Tremont changed in your 46 years here? Sister: The area used to be called the South Side. It was rough. We had gang fights in the park. Cars broke through the fence and landed in the pool. We have a gas station on the corner where someone had been murdered. In the mid-, late 70s, it started to become gentrified. Tremont West was very careful that we had a mixed community: the poor, the regular people and the rich. But we have more displacement now. The neighborhood is building all over. Are the gentry OK with a hunger center? Sister: At first, the neighbors didn't want it here. But our clients are beautiful people. so I got them involved in the neighborhood, doing set-up and cleanup at events. I also started a catering service, because our people needed jobs. We started teaching how to set the tables, prepare the food, serve it, clean up. We cater weddings and funerals here and at St. Malachi. We've had a number of people hired at different restaurants. Now the community has accepted St. Augustine in a really beautiful way. I had a block club ask if we could cater a meal. I was invited to one of the block clubs to talk about the hunger center, and they gave us donations. Where do you live? Sister: In an old convent right down the street. When there were no other nuns left there, I started raising kids from the neighborhood who were handicapped, or their parents had problems. I raised seven at a time, 55 altogether. Now my brother lives there with me and his wife. They help at the hunger center. What do you do in your spare time? Sister: I go to baseball games. I am not the Baseball Nun, but I love baseball. It was a wonderful season for the Indians. I enjoy basketball, too. Omar Vizquel stopped in the church last yr. He wanted to see the sanctuary. He said, "Will you kneel down and pray with me?" I did. That was a special moment. I love Cleveland. It's an extremely friendly place. I love to go downtown and walk around. I love the building up of the Square. Restaurants? Sister: Prosperity has the best hamburgers in the city. At Grumpy's, i love their pulled pork boxty. Sokolowski's has the best rice pudding. Retirement? Sister: I think about it, and I let it go at that. My health is holding up, and I thank God every day for that. I still get so excited and so fulfilled by the people in the hunger center. They give me so much energy. For more information, contact St. Augustine Catholic Church, 216-781-5530, staugustine-west14.org.
754 points by The Plain Dealer | Olmsted Township Cuyahoga County Ohio Cuyahoga County Ohio Augustine of Hippo Hunger Hearing impairment Saint Joseph Deaf culture
Brook Park councilwoman charged with shoplifting at Target
Julie Ann McCormick, a Brook Park councilwoman, is charged with theft. She is due in Rocky River Municipal Court on Nov. 29. Julie Ann McCormickNorth Olmsted police  NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio - A Brook Park councilwoman is accused of shoplifting at Target in North Olmsted. Julie Ann McCormick, 33, of Brook Park, is charged with theft, a first-degree misdemeanor, in a Monday incident at the Brookpark Road store, according to court records. Her arraignment is scheduled at 1 p.m. Nov. 29 in Rocky River Municipal Court. McCormick is accused of stealing more than $900 in merchandise from the store, North Olmsted Detective Sgt. Bob Wagner said. McCormick could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Council President Jim Astorino said he read the news of McCormick's arrest on Facebook, but declined to comment until he spoke with her to get more information. If you'd like to comment on this post, please visit the cleveland.com crime and courts comments section. 
483 points by The Plain Dealer | United States Theft Cuyahoga County Ohio Crime Fairview Park Ohio Green Line North Olmsted Ohio Olmsted Township Cuyahoga County Ohio