OCONTO, Wis. (AP) — False imprisonment charges have been dismissed against a northeastern Wisconsin school superintendent accused of illegally detaining some students in a high school bathroom during searches for vaping devices.
A judge in Oconto County on Tuesday said facts in the criminal complaint against Kelly Casper were insufficient to support the six counts of false imprisonment against her.
“There’s nothing here that would allow me to conclude that there was a lack of consent or the defendant would know there was a lack of consent, or that she would know she did not have lawful authority to confine or restrain,” Judge Marc Hammer said.
Several dozen supporters in the courtroom gallery broke into applause when Hammer announced his decision.
The 52-year-old Casper resigned as Suring School District superintendent effective June 30. She was charged last February with confining six female students who were asked to take off some of their clothes in a school bathroom during the searches Jan. 17 and 18.
Oconto County District Attorney Edward Burke determined the searches were lawful. However, he filed the false imprisonment charges, saying the students were illegally confined. The school board placed Casper on paid administrative leave soon after.
“Forget the strip search for a minute, she’s not charged with that,” said Corey Chirafisi, Casper’s attorney. “If she puts them in a room to confine them to do something that she’s allowed to do, which is search because of reasonable suspicion, I think we’re done.”
Hammer said the district attorney can refile the charges or file new ones.