Ex-principal John O'Mard charged with submitting false paperwork to state

Former Freeport middle school principal John O'Mard, who Former Freeport middle school principal John O'Mard, who was arrested in April and charged with having sex with a 16-year-old graduate of his school, faces new charges at the Nassau County Courthouse in Mineola. (Oct 15, 2013) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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A former Freeport middle school principal, arrested earlier this year on charges of having sex with a 16-year-old former student of his school, faced additional charges Tuesday.

A second grand jury indictment charges John O'Mard with felony perjury and filing false paperwork to the state Education Department.

O'Mard, principal for several years of the J.W. Dodd Middle School, has pleaded not guilty to the sex charges and the new allegations.

At his arraignment Tuesday, prosecutors said O'Mard lied on paperwork submitted to the New York State Education Department for certification in 2004 and 2006. Judge Angelo A. Delligatti set bail in the amount of $15,000 cash or bond.

He was convicted in 1990 of grand larceny. Records show O'Mard, 45, also had been convicted of petty larceny, a misdemeanor, in 1987.

The case has led to proposed statewide changes, with swifter punishment for school employees or job applicants who try to circumvent criminal background checks using false identification.

State education officials said O'Mard submitted fake fingerprints during a background check almost a decade earlier.

"The new regulations make it clear that someone submitting false information in connection with a criminal background check is presumed to lack good moral character to hold a certificate. Thus, they will serve as a deterrent for individuals who may wish to submit false fingerprints," said Education Department spokesman Tom Dunn.

O'Mard's attorney, Edward Jenks, said his client, who has been living with his parents in Laurelton, Queens, was expected to post the bail.

Jenks asserted that Freeport district officials knew of his client's criminal record because he had worked for the New York City Department of Education, which was aware of it.

A statement released by the district Tuesday reported that Freeport was unaware of any wrongdoing and "followed all state-mandated protocols relating to the hiring of Mr. John O'Mard."

The first indictment charged O'Mard with four counts of third-degree criminal sexual act, according to the office of Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

The second charged him with two counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, defrauding the government, second- and third-degree perjury, first- and second-degree making an apparently sworn false statement, and official misconduct.

O'Mard was initially arrested on the four counts of third-degree criminal sexual act in March. He pleaded not guilty.

If convicted of all charges, O'Mard could be sentenced to 16 years in prison.

After his arrest, O'Mard was first "administratively reassigned" by the Freeport Board of Education pending a district investigation and disciplinary charges. He was then fired.

Following O'Mard's arrest on the sex charges, the district discovered his criminal record.

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