School System finally complies with investigation - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

School System finally complies with investigation

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May 18, 2005

Sylvester- Sylvester Police and GBI agents have interviewed most of the students in Georgianne Harrell's third grade class.

"They are today out there interviewing school teachers and people who work with Ms. Harrell," said Sylvester Police Chief Tony Strenth.

The investigation into Harrell, 24, who is now charged with two counts of child molestation is getting easier now that the school system is cooperating. Police had to force the system to give them her classroom information.

"I think we ended up having to get a court order to get some of the information," Strenth said.

"Students names and things like that so we could contact these victims."

A GBI investigator tells WALB that they advised the school system to notify parents that the investigation evolved to include possible molestation. System administrators declined. Harrell has been on administrative leave since May 5, the day after she cut herself with a piece of glass in front of students and she may have spent some time in a hospital before her arrest.

"All I know is that they said that there was a possibility she was in the hospital for getting help."

WALB obtained Harrell's personnel file. In the file was her handwritten resignation letter, noting she will not be returning for the 2005-2006 school year. The letter was faxed on May 10 to the school system from Archbold Northside which is the hospital's center for behavioral and psychiatric care.

Now police are focusing on wrapping up the investigation, work that could have been done a lot faster.

"We maybe could have cut the time maybe in half if we could have gotten the information when we needed it."

Superintendent Dr. Gary Russell did not return a phone call Wednesday. He has previously refused to comment on the school system's investigation citing the privacy of personnel issues.

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