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School official to complete diversion after vandalism charges

A school official from Washington blames his alleged illegal behavior on June 25 on a reaction to prescription medication. The 43-year-old man, who has been employed by the school for three years, faces criminal charges after he attended an educational conference and vandalized the hotel where he stayed.

The accused man supposedly climbed through a bathroom ceiling to the hotel roof and threw numerous materials down to the street below. A security guard observed a jug of cleaning fluid fall and looked into the matter further. He watched a security video and saw the accused man go in and out of the hotel a number of times. He also located damage in offices on the highest floor of the building and identified the man through his key card information. When the authorities contacted him, he told them he was very intoxicated and couldn't remember what happened.

The prosecution has agreed to allow him to complete a diversion program, complete 50 work order hours, and pay $1,200 in associated costs. The prosecution indicated that he was a low-risk offender with no prior criminal history. The man's lawyer said that his client was taking Ambien as a sleep aid for restless leg syndrome. He had never taken the medication before and also consumed at least one alcoholic beverage. The lawyer observed that his client was confused and said that he had represented a number of clients who reacted in the same way to the prescription. The man admitted he remembered going on the roof although he knew he shouldn't be there. He confessed to throwing the materials off the rooftop. The school placed him on paid leave until they finished looking into the matter.

An out-of-character incident can affect a person's career if they are convicted. A criminal defense attorney might negotiate a diversion program so that the client's record can be cleared.

Source: The Spokesman-Review, 'Man blames sleeping pill for Spokane vandalism", July 10, 2013

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