Chicopee superintendent on leave after arrest over lying about text threats

Chicopee superintendent on leave after arrest over lying about text threats

The superintendent of a Massachusetts school district is on leave after she was arrested over accusations of making false statements in connection with sending threatening messages to a candidate for a government job.The Chicopee School Committee held an emergency meeting Wednesday night and voted 8-3 to place Superintendent of Schools Lynn M. Clark on administrative leave, effective immediately.The School Committee has also formally asked Clark to submit her resignation.Clark, 51, of Belchertown, was charged by criminal complaint with one count of making false statements. According to the complaint, Chicopee was in the process of hiring a new chief of police in December 2021 when law enforcement officials received a report that one of the candidates was receiving threats intended to force them to withdraw their application for the position.Officials allege Clark sent 99 threatening messages to a job applicant from fictitious phone numbers purchased through a mobile app. The messages allegedly contained threats to expose information that would cause the job applicant reputational harm. As a result, the victim withdrew her application, and the city delayed the selection process, officials said. Clark denied sending messages on numerous occasions to investigators and cast suspicion on other individuals, including one of her own family members. However, she later admitted she felt the messages through the use of the Burner app, officials said. According to the criminal complaint, Clark felt the messages because she felt if the job applicant became chief of police, it would “negatively impact” Clark’s position as superintendent of schools. The charge of making false statements provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to one of supervised release and a fine of up to $10,000.Clark made his initial federal court appearance Wednesday in Springfield. She was released on the conditions that she will not contact anyone involved in the investigation via texts, phone calls or social media.She did not provide any comment to reporters as she left the US District Court in Springfield.Clark’s next federal court appearance is scheduled for April 27.

The superintendent of a Massachusetts school district is on leave after she was arrested over accusations of making false statements in connection with sending threatening messages to a candidate for a government job.

The Chicopee School Committee held an emergency meeting Wednesday night and voted 8-3 to place Superintendent of Schools Lynn M. Clark on paid leave, effective immediately.

The School Committee has also formally asked Clark to submit her resignation.

Clark, 51, of Belchertown, was charged by criminal complaint with one count of making false statements.

According to the complaint, Chicopee was in the process of hiring a new chief of police in December 2021 when law enforcement officials received a report that one of the candidates was receiving threats intended to force them to withdraw their application for the position.

Officials allege Clark sent 99 threatening messages to a job applicant from fictitious phone numbers purchased through a mobile app. The messages allegedly contained threats to expose information that would cause the job applicant reputational harm.

As a result, the victim withdrew their application, and the city delayed the selection process, officials said.

Clark denied sending messages on numerous occasions to investigators and cast suspicion on other individuals, including one of her own family members. However, she later admitted she felt the messages through the use of the Burner app, officials said.

According to the criminal complaint, Clark felt the messages because she felt if the job applicant became chief of police, it would “negatively impact” Clark’s position as superintendent of schools.

The charge of making false statements provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to one of supervised release and a fine of up to $10,000.

Clark made her initial federal court appearance Wednesday in Springfield. She was released on the conditions that she will not contact anyone involved in the investigation via texts, phone calls or social media.

She did not provide any comment to reporters as she left the US District Court in Springfield.

Clark’s next federal court appearance is scheduled for April 27.

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