Pasco prin­ci­pal ac­cused of steal­ing $900 from stu­dent.

Tampa Bay Times - - Local - BY JOSH SOLOMON AND JUSTIN TROMBLY Times Staff Writ­ers Times Staff Writer Jef­frey S. Solochek con­trib­uted to this re­port.

LAND O’LAKES — A 50-yearold ele­men­tary school prin­ci­pal was ar­rested Thurs­day af­ter deputies said he stole money brought to school by a 9-year-old with a men­tal dis­abil­ity, ac­cord­ing to the Pasco County Sher­iff ’s Of­fice.

Con­ner­ton Ele­men­tary School prin­ci­pal Edward John Aber­nathy of Land O’Lakes is ac­cused of steal­ing $900, deputies said.

On Oct. 23, the stu­dent brought $2,100 of his par­ents’ money to school. Once teach­ers found out, deputies said, they took it, counted it and locked it in the prin­ci­pal’s of­fice. Aber­nathy re­turned to work the next day.

Af­ter he gave a wad of cash to the stu­dent’s mother, she no­ticed it was only $1,200, ac­cord­ing to the Sher­iff ’s Of­fice, and called au­thor­i­ties. A deputy in­ter­viewed the fam­ily, Aber­nathy and staff.

The deputy learned Aber­nathy ver­i­fied the stu­dent brought $2,100, and he later hid the money in a speaker in his of­fice, ac­cord­ing to his ar­rest re­port.

Aber­nathy changed his story sev­eral times, even sug­gest­ing the child had taken the miss­ing $900. When the deputy said reach­ing the speaker — about 6 feet off the ground — would be hard for a child, Aber­nathy replied it would be “a bit of a reach.”

Aber­nathy, whose salary is $91,112, was booked into the Land O’Lakes De­ten­tion Cen­ter on a charge of grand theft. He was freed af­ter post­ing $2,000 bail.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Kurt Brown­ing said Aber­nathy will be placed on paid ad­min­is­tra­tive leave while the district learns more.

Aber­nathy

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