Judge may probe alleged threats at board meeting

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

ST. LOUIS -- A St. Louis judge is expected to decide this week whether to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations that a school board member threatened other members at a board meeting.

Board member Bill Haas claims that board member Vince Schoemehl threatened members Veronica O'Brien and Amy Hilgemann on Nov. 12 but that police and prosecutors are not looking into it.

He has tried to force circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce to ask a judge to appoint a special prosecutor to consider whether Schoemehl committed an assault. Joyce said Monday she found no evidence a crime had been committed.

"It's not a crime to shake your finger at someone," she said.

Both O'Brien and Hilgemann told Circuit Judge David Dowd that they felt threatened at the Nov. 12 meeting of the board.

Hilgemann said that during a closed-door discussion about suspending interim superintendent Floyd Crues over concern about high salaries paid to some employees, Schoemehl "stood up ... lunged across the table" and pointed his finger in her face. "I'm sick and tired of you," Hilgemann recalled Schoemehl saying.

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