Ex-school employee pleads guilty to theft

A former temporary employee of a D.C. charter school pleaded guilty Monday to stealing about $75,000 from the school, according to federal prosecutors.

Darlene Ford, 46, worked for three months in 2010 as an accountant in the finance department at César Chávez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Ford stole the money by replacing the names of legitimate vendors with the names of fake vendors on 10 pending checks. She forged the signature of the school’s finance director on those checks, according to charging documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The checks, which totaled $73,350, were “cashed and used for the personal benefit of [Ford] and/or her friends and associates,” according to the documents.

Ford is scheduled to be sentenced in September. She is likely to face 12 to 18 months in prison and a fine of $3,000 to $30,000, authorities said Monday.

She must also pay $75,350 in restitution to César Chávez.

— Emma Brown

High school janitor faces sex charge

A DuVal High School janitor was arrested this weekend on charges that he had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student, Prince George’s County police said.

Authorities arrested Steven Ray Poe, 36, Sunday at his home in the 9700 block of Good Luck Road in the Lanham-Seabrook area, officials said. The student told investigators that Poe had inappropriate sexual contact with her on an off- school property between April and June.

Officials charged him with third-degree sex offense and second-degree assault. He was held on a $20,000 bond, police said.

— Clarence Williams

Request to expunge records is denied

Anne Arundel County school officials turned down a request to expunge school records for a second-grade boy disciplined for chewing his Pop-Tart-like pastry into the shape of a gun, according to the family and a lawyer.

The decision Monday came in an e-mailed letter from Anne Arundel Deputy Superintendent Arlen Liverman, writing as the superintendent’s designee, said lawyer Robin Ficker. The letter disputed the portrayal of the case as “a singular incident, having to do only with a breakfast pastry,” Ficker said, instead referring to other behavior by the child, who recently turned 8.

The family plans to pursue the appeal further, taking it to the school board president, as procedure allows. Schools spokesman Bob Mosier declined to comment on the case Monday.

— Donna St. George

Gansler says probe
of jail is needed

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) on Monday suggested that Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) appoint a special counsel to conduct an investigation into the scandal at a Baltimore jail, arguing that other inquiries underway are not sufficient. O’Malley dismissed the advice in a letter to Gansler later in the day, noting that prosecutors are continuing to look into activities at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

— John Wagner

Kmart employee charged with assault

A loss-prevention officer at the Springfield Plaza Kmart is accused of sexually assaulting a woman he had detained Saturday for allegedly shoplifting from the store, Fairfax County police said.

Tabbasum H. Gilani, 29, of Lorton coerced the 23-year-old woman into performing a sex act while she was being held on store grounds, police said. Gilani has been charged with abduction with intent to defile and forcible sodomy. The woman was charged with misdemeanor shoplifting. She reported the alleged sex assault a couple of hours after she was released with a summons to appear in court on the shoplifting charge, police said.

— Justin Jouvenal

Biden to headline Democrats’ dinner

Vice President Biden will headline the Democratic Party of Virginia’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner this month.

Party spokesman Brian Coy confirmed that Biden will speak at the June 29 dinner at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. General admission tickets are $175, and tickets for young Democrats are $100.

First lady Michelle Obama came to Virginia last week to stump for gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe at a fundraiser in Tysons Corner.

Virginia is drawing national attention and dollars as the state with one of the country’s main political contests this year.

— Errin Whack

Volunteer at Fairfax celebration charged

A volunteer at Celebrate Fairfax was arrested and charged with embezzlement Sunday.

Varrie Butler, 25, is accused of pocketing cash as she collected money from people purchasing tickets at one of the entrance gates to the community celebration, Fairfax County police said. Police said management became suspicious and contacted them. Authorities said Butler cooperated and returned all of the cash, before being transported to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

— Trishula Patel