Weekly Feature

2014-04-09 / Front Page

Former teacher pleads guilty to endangerment charge

by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor

A former Williamsville School District teacher pleaded guilty on Thursday to endangering the welfare of a child, a charge that stems from her inappropriate conduct with a 13-year-old student.

Donna M. Sleap, 49, a former Casey Middle School teacher, resigned from employment with the district last week as a result of a plea agreement with the Erie County District Attorney’s Office. She also surrendered her New York State teaching certification.

Sleap was arrested Jan. 6 on the charge, which is a Class A misdemeanor and punishable by up to one year in jail.

Williamsville Superintendent Scott Martzloff said student safety is of utmost importance for the district and he is glad closure has been brought to the situation.

“As educators, we are advocates for students, their safety and achievement, and can expect to be held to high standards of conduct at all times,” Martzloff said. “The district would like to thank Assistant District Attorney Rosanne Johnson and her team as well as the Amherst Police Department for bringing this matter to closure.”

According to statements by Martzloff in January, the teacher was placed on paid administrative leave on Dec. 19, pending the outcome of the legal process. She had been a district employee since 1988.

Following Sleap’s arrest, Martzloff said that school staff members had notified the administration in October about their concerns involving her observed behaviors.

“The district immediately began an internal investigation and notified the Amherst Police Department,” Martzloff said in January. “District video surveillance captured what is deemed to be inappropriate contact between Ms. Sleap and the student.”

According to police Detective Lt. Joseph LaCorte, Sleap will be sentenced on July 30 before Judge Geoffrey Klein.

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