Former Springboro teacher’s drug case nearing trial after 20 months

Former Springboro teacher Amy Panzeca listens as lawyer Andrea Ostrowski questions witnesses in court Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, in Lebanon. LAWRENCE BUDD/STAFF

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Former Springboro teacher Amy Panzeca listens as lawyer Andrea Ostrowski questions witnesses in court Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, in Lebanon. LAWRENCE BUDD/STAFF

Lawyers are preparing for trial in the case of a former Springboro teacher charged with permitting drug abuse and endangering children.

Amy Panzeca’s lawyer wants the judge to bar prosecutors from referring to Panzeca as a teacher. She recently resigned after 23 years at her job teaching fourth and fifth graders in the Springboro school district.

Another motion filed by lawyer Andrea Ostrowski asks Judge Donald Oda II to order authorities to return to her unspecified property seized when her home in the Settlers Walk development was raided.

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“There must be court-sanctioned consequences or the games will simply continue to occur,” Ostrowski said in a motion filed last week in anticipation of the final pretrial hearing.

The trial is scheduled to begin next Monday, Jan. 28.

Prosecutors want permission to treat her son as an “adverse witness.” He already was convicted in the case and the prosecutor has asked the judge’s permission to ask him leading questions.

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Assistant Warren County Prosecutor Derek Faulkner wrote that prosecutors want to question the son about text messages between he and his mother allegedly “involving drug use and trafficking” in their home.

According to school officials, Panzeca resigned in December.

In May 2017, her home was raided by agents from the Warren County Drug Task Force and Springboro police. She and her 15-year-old son — found hiding with friends in the basement — were both charged.

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The son pleaded no contest to charges of trafficking in drugs and possession of controlled substances and was sentenced in December 2017 to 30 days in the local detention center.

As part of his sentence in Warren County Juvenile Court, he was ordered to complete an in-patient treatment program, placed on probation, possibly until he turns 21, and fined $250.

He was accused of selling drugs to students at Springboro High School, including LSD allegedly purchased with Bitcoin, an online currency that his mother allegedly purchased for him with a credit or debit card.

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His lawyer and Ostrowski have challenged the search warrant used to raid the house and other aspects of the investigation and allegations.

Ostrowski could not be reached and Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell did not respond to a question about the possibility of a plea bargain being reached.

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