The Ohio Parole Board unanimously recommended against clemency for a mother who lied about her residency so her children could attend school tuition-free in another district.
Kelley Williams-Bolar admitted in a July hearing that she was wrong to enroll her two daughters in the Copley-Fairlawn school district from under her father's address while she lived in subsidized housing in Akron. She claimed she did so because she did not want to leave her daughters home alone after school while she was attending classes at The University of Akron, fearing for their safety after a 2006 burglary.
The eight-panel board concluded that she could have investigated other options, such as looking at other districts, asking friends or neighbors to babysit, or actually moving into her parents' home. Instead, she chose "a pattern of deceitful behavior," the Board wrote in its clemency report, released Friday.
"Ms. Williams-Bolar was faced with a no more difficult situation than any other working parent who must ensure that their children are safe during, before and after school hours in their absence," it said in its ruling. "Most parents find legitimate and legal options to address this issue. Ms. Williams-Bolar's only response was to be deceitful."
The recommendation goes on to Gov. John Kasich, who expressed sympathy for Williams-Bolar earlier this year after her sentencing.
"Although we are disappointed with the Parole Board's recommendation, we remain confident that justice will ultimately prevail," Williams-Bolar's lawyer, David Singleton, said. "The Governor, not the Parole Board, has the last word on Kelley's clemency petition."
A Summit County jury convicted Williams-Bolar in January of two felony counts of tampering with records. She was sentenced to a five-year suspended sentence and two years of community supervision.
The case drew nationwide attention nationwide, raising debate about equal access to quality education and allegations of selective prosecution.
Opinion: Mom jailed for sending kids to school wanted a choice
But Williams-Bolar had no complaints about the education her children were receiving in the Akron City School District, the Board wrote in its decision, citing arguments from Williams-Bolar's attorneys.
"This was not a case about race or civil rights and Ms. Williams-Bolar has never made this claim," according to the clemency report. "This is a case where Ms. Williams-Bolar was worried about the safety of her daughters, and has been severely punished, and the collateral consequences will be devastating for her future."
Williams-Bolar wrote in her application for clemency that the felony convictions would prevent her from obtaining a license in teaching or social work, which she has been working toward on and off since 1988.
She told the Board she was not sure when she would go back to college, and ultimately acknowledged that she has to raise her GPA before can gain entry into a school of education, according to the clemency report.
She has been able to keep her position with the Akron Public Schools as a teacher's assistant, but her attorney stated that her employment is contingent upon the outcome of her appeals and the clemency decision, according to the report. She also has been able to maintain her residence with the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority.
Prosecutors claimed that Williams-Bolar had plenty of time and opportunity to end her deceptions before she was indicted in October 2009 trial. Instead, she continued to "fight and build on her deceptions," the Board wrote.
Williams-Bolar told the Board that while she continues to reside at the Hartford Avenue address in Akron, she used her father’s address when she renewed her driver’s license a few weeks before the July clemency hearing.
"She does not seem to understand nor accept the fact that the Black Pond address is not her legal residence, when she has resided and continues to reside at the Hartford Avenue address," the Board wrote.
Gov. Kasich does not have to follow the Board's recommendation. Days after taking office, he launched an inquiry into the case and asked the parole board to review it.
"Karen and I work hard to make a better future for our girls so when I first heard about Ms. Kelley Williams-Bolar’s case last week it really struck me, as it has many other people," he said in February, according to the Beacon Journal.
"Our laws exist for a reason and they must be enforced, but the idea that a woman would become a convicted felon for wanting a better future for her children is something that has rightly raised a lot of concern with people, including me."
Throw the book at her. How about get a job and provide for your kids?
Sounds like to me a woman trying to better herself and provide for her kids but didn't have the money to live in a safe area and she feared for her kids.
She does have a job, does not pay enough to take care of her kids well ENOUGH. Every parents want their kids to have the BEST, not everyone is bill gate.
She could have moved in with her parents.
She has a job... maybe if you're mom cared enough she would have tried to put you in a school where they teach you to read the article before commenting.
alexis: "Sounds like to me a woman trying to better herself and provide for her kids but didn't have the money to live in a safe area and she feared for her kids."
Right. Then why live in public housing? Why not move home to her parents' house?
Does she get some extra benefit (welfare) by staying in public housing?
And Andrew, maybe if YOUR mom cared enough, she would have put you in a school where you could learn the difference between "you're" and "your."
That's what she's trying to do, you spoiled brat.
But yet Casey Anthony gets acquitted when she killed her child, this woman is just trying to protect hers as she tries to better herself in school. Saddened by how justice works in this country.
I could not agree more with this sentiment.
CNN News break:::: Onassis just landed on Uranus........
She's been working on collage degree since 1988! I wonder how many Gov grants she's received over that 23 years, on top of the subsidized housing and not paying the school tuition-free. Probably doesn't pay any taxes either.
Sounds exactly like the kind of life we all want to live. Trying to get a *college* degree done while living in a subsidized house (which of course are all mansions!). If this life is so awesome and fulfilling, we'd all be aspiring to live it.
If you went to a four year college you would know that federal grant money for undergraduate degree has time limit of five (school) years. So, I don't really understand your point. I am not condoning her behavior in regards to fake address but if you are going to critique something, it should be relevant to the story.
Spell check college
You're pathetic.... Judge somebody else and you can't even spell "college" without looking it up.
Don't act like it was a typo, neither. The "A" is not close enough to the "e" on the keyboard.
The funniest part of your rant is the ignorant use of "neither." The proper word here is "either." If you are going to complain about a grammar mistake, you should go to the trouble of using correct grammar yourself. Wow.
And on a more comical note, you should put the period AFTER a quoted phrase that ends a sentence, not within in them.
No takers? Damn .. troll fail.
PRISON TIME....SERIOUS LENGTHY PRISON SENTENCE. OR, PERHAPS, THE DEATH PENALTY
======================================== I don't think the school board was as concerned about the safty of her kids as they were about the loss of tuItion. What would be the tuition anyway? =================================
This is like the Scene in the Movie "The Help" Where a woman was forced to commit a crime to give her Children a chance in Life.
Who was harmed in this crime? No One!
Why aren't anyone from Goldman Sachs in Jail for robbing billions from hard working people? Is it because they are White??
No. I think it's because they know how to properly use capitalization.
I agree ... So clemency for *robo-signers* with the promise they won't do this again. Right. Jail and fines for 200% of all assets sounds about right for all who *robo-signed* and all the management (who are fiducially and legally responsible for the actions of their agents) involved. Clear out the rotten deadwood good-'ol-'boy-buddy-buddy network.
funky bunch... before you criticize you might want to learn to spell.
Punished for trying to be a mom :(..a fundamental right of mothers is to protect her children from what they believe is harm. Yet those like Casey Anthony go free....
If this isn't a race issue, I don't know what is.
Why can't the school investigate if she has given the right or wrong address if that is going to make a big issue? Anthony escaped when everyone knew she killed her daughter, But this women has not hurt anyone, maybe she has lied is behind the bars. It is equally schools fault for joining the kids blindly.
I wonder if all the people who lie about their residency so their kids can play sports at thier school of choice would go to jail if I turned them in?
Try it and see.
Her offends is extremely minor. It's ridiculous, especially when you compare thugs who get in and out of jail on a weekly basis without consequence.
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