Judge sets hearing in Chardon Healing Fund lawsuit

6:13 PM, May 23, 2013   |    comments
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CHARDON -- Geauga County Probate Court Judge Tim Grendell will hold the first hearing at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in the complaint filed by the families of the three teens killed in the Feb. 27, 2012 Chardon High School cafeteria shooting.

The families of Demetrius Hewlin, 16, Daniel Parmertor, 16, and Russell King, Jr., 17,, murdered by convicted killer T.J. Lane, sued the trustees of the Chardon Healing Fund Tuesday, claiming they are refusing to release additional money to the families, even though the fund has over $950,000.

Lane was sentenced March 19 to 3 life sentences in prison without the possibility of parole but he appealed the sentence in mid-April.

The lawsuit alleges that the United Way of Greater Cleveland and the United Way of Geauga County have breached their duty in administering the fund, which has accumulated about $952,000 in donations following the shooting.

Related story: Investigator: Families cut off by Chardon Healing Fund sue

The families have received about $150,000 from the fund, although a number of requests for money have been denied, said Attorney Todd McKenney, administrator of the Hewlin estate who filed the lawsuit on behalf of all three families.

In a statement Tuesday, United Way Services of Geauga County said it is confident that the fund has been "managed in an open and transparent manner."

"The fund distributed more than $417,000 to the six families of children killed or injured by the tragedy," the statement read. "This includes paying bills, making home modifications and providing counseling and supportive services as needed."

Three other students were injured after T.J. Lane opened fire.

On Wednesday, in a message sent to United Way donors, United Way stated "With respect to all the families, we are not releasing the exact amounts each family received. The Chardon Healing Fund board also focused on healing our larger community by allocating:

  • $90,000 for a school resource officer
  • $250,000 for long-term behavioral health care needs
  • $42,046 for school and community healing
  • $46,513 for trauma training and support programs
  • $112,872 remains to be allocated"

In Tuesday's statement, United Way also said the trustees are following the fund's mission to address the needs of the Chardon community by holding educational sessions on trauma, providing intensive treatment at Chardon High School and partially funding a school resource officer there.

The families also want to stop a $250,000 payment to provide free or reduced cost mental health treatments by the Geauga County Board of Mental Health and Recovery Services. The agency is named as a defendant in the lawsuit.


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