Enterprise High School teacher Ron Osterloh, who was found not guilty in June of two counts of sexual abuse III stemming from charges focusing on alleged sexual misconduct with minor Thai exchange student Chalalai Prakobpuech, has been accused of gross neglect of duty by the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC). The charge was referred to the state Attorney General's office, and from there it will go to an independent tribunal of three Administrative Law justices.
TSPC had been investigating the possibility of misconduct since the criminal case, and its investigation was completed in late September. The investigation began upon receipt of a report filed by Enterprise Superindendent Brad Royse in March. Such reports are mandatory under TSPC rules whenever an administration "reasonably believes" there is a case of gross negligence on the part of an educator.
While not a criminal charge, if the tribunal of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) of the Oregon Attorney General's office finds that there was in fact gross neglect, Osterloh could face disciplinary action. Such action could include suspension, revocation of teaching credentials, probation, dismissal or public reprimand, said assistant TSPC investigator Melody Hanson.
When the investigative committee decided to pursue the charges, the OAH informed Osterloh, who requested a hearing, Hanson said. The hearing has not yet been scheduled, but, according to TSPC, will likely occur in four to six months. There also could be a settlement with the OAH before the hearing, Hanson said.
At this time the information the investigation has compiled is confidential, and no specific facts have been released as to why TSPC decided to charge Osterloh with gross neglect. The alleged misconduct falls under section 40, subsection four of the Standards for Competent and Ethical Performance of Oregon Educators, Hanson said. Subsection four lists 17 different areas of possible infraction, but TSPC would not state which precise area(s) were relevant.
Royse has heard little on the case, himself. "I'm trying to figure (the situation) out, too. I need to know if I'm having a teacher lose certification," he said.
Osterloh continues in his post at Enterprise High School.
Neither Osterloh nor his Portland-based attorney Adam Arms had any comment on the content of the upcoming hearing. Arms' only comment was that he and his client "look forward to getting through this."