New trial date set for LaPorte school officials

2013-09-05T18:38:00Z 2013-09-05T21:50:11Z New trial date set for LaPorte school officialsChristine Kraly, (219) 933-4195

FORT WAYNE | After a series of delays and a venue change, the trial against two LaPorte school officials accused of covering up a sexual relationship between a coach and player has been set for January.

The trial against Mary Beth Lebo and Ed Gilliland — estimated to last two weeks — is scheduled to begin Jan. 27 and continue into the first week of February, according to Sonia Leerkamp, the special prosecutor assigned to the case.

Gilliland, the LaPorte High School athletic director, and Lebo, the former girls varsity volleyball coach, each are charged with two counts of Class B misdemeanor failure to report child abuse and neglect.

It's alleged Gilliland, 53, and Lebo, 50, knew about a sexual relationship between junior varsity girls volleyball coach Robert Ashcraft and a player and failed to report the activity to the proper authorities.

Ashcraft is now serving a 21-year prison sentence for sexual misconduct with a minor and other felony counts.

Lebo and Gilliland each face up to six months in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine on each count if convicted.

The case was moved to Allen County court in August. Leerkamp said she has reviewed some evidence and met with some witnesses but that it was too early to speculate on how the trial will unfold.

"I know that all of the families are anxious to get it behind them," she said.

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