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Bellingham assistant principals head to trial in August

Detective replaced following internal investigation

By Hailey Hoffman Visual Journalist

The three Bellingham Public Schools’ assistant principals accused of failing to report the sexual assault of a student are headed to trial Aug. 28, Whatcom County District Court Commissioner Tony Parise decided at a Tuesday, July 18 hearing.

Jeremy Louzao, Meghan Dunham and Chimere Hackney were criminally cited in December 2022, and the three have entered not-guilty pleas. Failure to report is a gross misdemeanor with sentences up to 364 days and a $5,000 fine.

The case will move forward, despite Bellingham Police Det. Adam (Bo) S. McGinty being placed on administrative leave due to an internal affairs investigation. McGinty was the lead detective on the case of the three administrators and has been replaced by Det. Lisa Aspessi. Prosecuting attorney Dona Bracke said she does not expect the change in detective to impact the case.

The Aug. 28 trial date was pushed back from a July 31 date after Bracke requested a delay in proceedings due to personal health reasons. Bracke and Levi Uhrig will be the prosecutors on the case.

The defense attorneys — Robert Butler, Stephen Jackson and Michael Brodsky — additionally withdrew motions they filed in February to dismiss the assistant principals’ cases, on the grounds that mandatory reporting as defined by RCW 26.44 does not apply to peer-on-peer conduct.

The court agreed to officially consolidate the three defendants’ cases into one.

A pre-trial hearing is set for Aug. 25.

Bellingham Public Schools is paying for the legal defense of the three employees, who have been moved to administrative roles at the district office. 

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