Judge dismisses charge against former Johnsburg principal
WOODSTOCK – A former Johnsburg private school principal is considering whether to pursue a false arrest case against the Johnsburg Police Department, her attorney said.
Pamela C. Dvonch, 63, was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct in April in connection with at least 16 “offensive” letters that were sent to parents of students at St. John the Baptist Catholic School.
McHenry County Judge Joel Berg dismissed the charge without prejudice during a court appearance Wednesday. That means prosecutors could refile the charges.
Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel Wilbrandt, who handled the case, did not return a call for comment Thursday.
Johnsburg Police Chief Keith Von Allmen said he couldn’t comment on the dismissal but said he is confident in the charges filed.
Although the cards were not threatening, Von Allmen said, disorderly conduct is based on the feelings of the victims.
The cards were sent anonymously just months after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and the sender remained unknown for about a week, raising fears in the community, he said.
Police officers were posted at the school April 2 as a precautionary measure.
Dvonch was represented for free by Tom and Kim Popovich, whose three children have attended the school for more than five years, according to a news release.
“We believed [Pamela] Dvonch from the very beginning that she had not committed any crime,” Tom Popovich said in a news release. “We were confident that once we were able to get in front of a judge and tell her side of the story, that [she] would be fully vindicated.”
The cards were sent to parents on the school’s parent advisory board and fundraising committee, as well as the pastor at the church and a separate parishioner, police said. The cards were homemade.
They included statements such as “F--- you deceitful bully.” Some did not include the profanity, and others called the recipient a sanctimonious, malicious or uncouth bully, according to the criminal complaint.
Dvonch previously worked at the school for more than 20 years.
She has a year to pursue false arrest charges, Popovich said in a phone interview.
St. John the Baptist Catholic School includes preschool through eighth grade, and draws students from Johnsburg, McHenry, Spring Grove, Richmond, Fox Lake, Lakemoor, Volo and Wonder Lake, according to the school’s website.