Ex-Girard schools chief seeks early prison release

Included with the filing were nine letters from supporters.
WARREN -- Joseph M. Shoaf, the former Girard schools superintendent sentenced to five years in prison for using cocaine with a 17-year-old female student in his office at the high school, drinking vodka and talking of sex with her, has asked a judge to allow him early release from prison.
Shoaf, 41, formerly of Cortland, has served four years of his sentence on corrupting another with drugs, intimidation of a victim and possession of cocaine. He is an inmate at Grafton Correctional Institution.
Shoaf's attorney filed a brief with Judge Andrew Logan of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, saying Shoaf would like to be released so he can become employed by Jim Wheeler of J & amp;K Concrete and Waterproofing in Wickliffe to be a laborer at 40 hours per week and a pay of 9 per hour.
No hearing date has been set for Judge Logan to hear oral arguments on the request.
The filing says Shoaf has a place to live and would be a benefit to his ailing 77-year-old father, who needs help caring for himself since Shoaf's mother died last year.
The filing says Shoaf has a "strong network of people who support him, foremost being his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor ... who he has remained in regular contact with throughout his incarceration. He also has many friends and co-workers who vouch for his actions and who will be a part of his support network," the filing says.
The filing says Shoaf also is a member in good standing of the North Grafton Valley Jaycees and American Red Cross and successfully completed a vocational class in machine shop trades.
Blamed drug use
When sentenced to prison in 2003, Shoaf blamed cocaine addiction for his actions, which included telling the girl it would be easy for him to have someone killed. That crime occurred a couple of weeks after the 17-year-old tape recorded an incriminating conversation she had with Shoaf in his office in April 2002.
In the recording, Shoaf could be heard using cocaine with the girl, drinking vodka and talking of sex, an affidavit states. Police also say Shoaf gave the girl black lace undergarments to model for him later.
Shoaf's father, Joseph B. Shoaf, wrote Judge Logan last month to ask that his son be released so that "he can live with me and provide for his children." The letter says Shoaf has three boys who are 5-year-old triplets.
The filing also contains nine letters from other family members, his AA sponsor, friends and others, some from his hometown of Orwell.
The letters say Shoaf has been serious about his drug rehabilitation and has helped educate many people while he was incarcerated. "I can think of no one who is more deserving of a second chance," Paula Ray of McDonald wrote.
Don Rex, a former colleague of Shoaf's in the Girard school system, wrote that he has maintained contact with Shoaf while he was incarcerated. "During the many discussions we've had, Joe has repeatedly stated that none of the above [his punishment and personal problems] would have happened had he not caused it," the letter said.

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