The judge called the former superintendent's actions 'pathetic and pitiful.'



The judge called the former superintendent's actions 'pathetic and pitiful.'
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- A disgraced former schools superintendent said the events that led to his five-year prison sentence were no one's fault but his own.
Standing next to his attorney, Niki Schwartz of Cleveland, Joseph Shoaf told Judge John Andrew Logan this morning that he takes full responsibility for his actions.
"I'm very ashamed, very sorry," he said. "I'm awfully sorry this happened. No one caused this but myself."
Blamed drug addiction
The former Girard City Schools superintendent said cocaine addiction led to his criminal behavior.
"The drugs took control -- the drugs took over," he said. "I want the students of Girard to know that I'm heartfully sorry."
Shoaf entered guilty pleas this morning to charges of corrupting another with drugs, intimidation of a witness and possession of cocaine.
Judge Logan of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court ordered him into custody to begin serving his sentence.
As part of the plea agreement, Shoaf also agreed to voluntarily surrender his teaching license.
"You were living the American dream," Judge Logan said. "You were young, healthy, educated and in a position that you could cause good things to happen."
"Somehow, your life got crossed with drugs. Your actions are pathetic and pitiful."
The judge also added that the true victims are the pupils, teachers, employees and citizens of Girard School District.
"We have all been let down," Judge Logan said.
Shoaf, 36, of Cortland, was indicted May 29 and pleaded innocent June 5 to two counts of corrupting another with drugs and one count each of intimidation, possession of cocaine and trafficking in cocaine.
Faced up to 16 years
If he had gone to trial and been convicted of all charges, Shoaf could have faced up to 16 years in prison, said Charles Morrow, an assistant county prosecutor.
Shoaf said he has sought treatment for his drug addiction since his arrest.
"I thank the Girard Police Department and the court because this was a matter of life and death for me," he said. "The police department and this court saved my life."
An affidavit filed with the court by the county prosecutor's office says a 17-year-old student tape-recorded a conversation she had in the spring with Shoaf in his office at the high school.
In the April 23 recording, Shoaf can be heard using cocaine with the girl, drinking vodka and talking of sex, the affidavit states.
Police also say Shoaf gave the girl black lace undergarments to model for him later.
Girard police Capt. Frank Bigowsky has said the cocaine possession charge is a result of Shoaf's admitting on the tape that he had cocaine in his office.
The intimidation is said to have taken place May 8 or 9, when Shoaf told the girl it would be easy for him to have someone killed, according to the affidavit.

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