LIBERTY, Ohio (WKBN) – A former Liberty Schools superintendent is facing felony charges.
A Trumbull County Grand Jury returned an 11 count indictment against Joseph Nohra.
Nohra faces six counts of interception of a wire, oral or electronic communications, felonies of the fourth degree, which could carrying prison sentences of 6 to 18 months, as well as first-degree misdemeanors of interfering with civil rights.
He’s also charged and five counts of interfering with Civil Rights, misdemeanors, with a maximum of six months.
Nohra is accused of having a video surveillance camera installed above an employee’s desk inside of a carbon monoxide detector and recording private conversations.
According to prosecutors, the alleged incident happened over a two-week period in April of 2018 and didn’t involve students or children. Though it wasn’t mentioned specifically, it appears five employees may have been affected.
According to the indictment, Nohra spied on the employees by installing a carbon monoxide detector in an employee’s office, directly above the employee’s desk. Nohra allegedly used a surveillance camera to record conversations of various Liberty School employees and then tried to use what was recorded.
“The board policy would never be to endorse or support illegal activities by any of our employees. What also really concerns me is the potential violation of someone’s civil rights,” said Liberty School Board President Calvin Jones.
Prosecutors said the Special Investigations Unit of the Ohio Auditor of State started looking into the case at Liberty Schools in March of 2019.
Trumbull Prosecutor Dennis Watkins stated that his office would not comment further and would not discuss the evidence. He also said because of the pandemic and the nonviolent nature of the charges, the investigation proceeded at a “slower pace.”
Nohra resigned from the Liberty school district in June of last year. He said his reasons for leaving included a better work-life balance, his health and new work challenges outside of education.
According to Nohra’s attorney Dave Betras, a statement will be released Tuesday.