CHARGES DISMISSED AGAINST FORMER SCHOOL JANITOR
SALINE CO.—We wondered if all the reaction to the arrest and prosecution of Jerry Cowsert wasn’t a little overblown.
In this day and age of “you can never be TOO cautious,” Cowsert, 45. was charged this past January (Jan. 5, 2012) with making a terroristic threat against the Harrisburg School District, for whom he worked as a school janitor.
The whole incident came about when Cowsert had learned of an opening within the district that he wanted, and he made what seemed at the time to be offhanded remarks about how he’d “kill people…and students… and would commit suicide” if he didn’t get the promotion to the position of head janitor at the Middle School.
School officials took Cowsert seriously and made a report; Cowsert was brought in for questioning by police. Supposedly, during this questioning he made comments that lead investigators to believe he was serious, and he was charged with Making a Terroristic Threat (a Class X felony) and Transmitting a Threat to a School Official (a Class 3 felony).
This week, Assistant Prosecutor Jason Olson advised that he was dismissing the charges with leave to refile (within 3 years of the incident). In exchange, Cowsert agreed to quit his job and not pursue legal action against the school district, as well as not apply for any other jobs within the district, all this having been done about two weeks ago, August 21.
Knee jerk? Maybe. But with all the school problems there are today, one can never tell. Do you think the school overreacted; and do you think the state’s attorney’s office did right by nolle pros-ing these charges?
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