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Opening Arguments in Former Mifflin Principal's Trial

The jury in the trial of fired Mifflin High School principal Regina Crenshaw heard opening arguments Thursday. Crenshaw faces a misdemeanor charge of failing to immediately report the sexual assault of a 16-year-old female student.

Jurors heard a recording of a call to the Columbus police department's non-emergency "4545" telephone number. The father of the 16-year-old girl placed the call at 2:46 p.m., March 9th 2005. Sometime around 1 p.m. that day, his daughter was sexually assaulted in the school auditorium.

Defense attorney Toki Clark says her client, then-principal Regina Crenshaw, had no reason to call police herself, because the victim's father had already done it. Later that day, around 3:45 Clark says, Crenshaw instructed an assistant to notify Mifflin's police officer who was away that day for training. By asking the assistant to call the officer Clark says Crenshaw fulfilled her duty under state law to report the abuse.

"These two scenes establish that reports were made to the Columbus police department - very timely - not once on March 9th, 2005, but twice," Clark says.

There were at least seven Mifflin staff and teachers, according to Clark, who knew about the assault but failed to report it.

But city prosecutor Steve MacIntosh said Crenshaw in her official capacity was required by law to contact either child services or the police. He says the girl's father, who was asked by a teacher to come to the school, was met by a school administrator when he arrived.

"And he asked if the police had been called and was instructed that no, the police had not been called," MacIntosh says. "And he said, 'If you're not going to call the police, I will.'"

Then, according to MacIntosh, the father was encouraged not to call 9-1-1.

Crenshaw's attorney said her client was occupied by an all-day meeting that day, but that she began to investigate after she was informed of the matter.

Due to a dispatcher's error, police did not arrive at Mifflin High School until around 5 p.m., some 4 hours after the assault. By that time, according to prosecutor MacIntosh, Regina Crenshaw had left for the day.