Ex-teacher must stay in program

WARREN — The lawyer for a former Warren City Schools teacher who pleaded guilty to two counts of deception to obtain a dangerous drug last year failed to persuade a Trumbull County Common Pleas Court judge to release his client from a drug intervention program.

Tracy A. Gogel, 48, of Cuyahoga Falls, appeared at a status hearing before Judge Peter J. Kontos on Monday, where her attorney, J. Reid Yoder of Akron, pleaded with the court to allow her to be removed from the intervention program so she can rebuild her life.

“Tracy has not been able to get a new job because every time potential employers check her record, they see that she is in still in this program,” Yoder said.

Once the program is completed, Gogel may be eligible to have the two felony convictions removed from her record. Getting out of the drug intervention program would provide increased opportunities for Gogel to get a new job and begin rebuilding her life, Yoder said.

Since accepting the plea agreement in September 2016, Gogel has lost her job, her home and was forced to file for bankruptcy.

Yoder said his client has followed all of the drug intervention program’s requirements in addition, she has worked with others in a variety of prograns about how drugs have negatively affected her life. Kontos told Yoder he expected to extend Gogel’s involvement in the intervention program for another year, but he said he would reconsider if she returned to court in six months without any problems.

The charges against Gogel are both fourth-degree felonies, which each carry maximum 18-month prison terms. A drug possession charge in Summit County was dismissed in July 2016, according to court records.

Gogel resigned her $61,000-a-year teaching job at Warren G. Harding High School in May 2016. She had been employed by the school district since October 2007, but was placed on paid “home assignment” on April 7, 2015, five days after she was charged in Stow with possession of a controlled substance, a second-degree felony.

Gogel’s personnel file showed positive scores during her teacher evaluations.

rsmith@tribtoday.com

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