School Chief Stays In Jail

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Douglas Thoburn, the Union Local Schools superintendent charged with four counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, remains in jail after being arraigned Friday.

Thoburn, 53, entered no plea to the charges, which were levied against him after his arrest Thursday at his home. He is being held without bond in the Belmont County Jail. A preliminary hearing is set for 1:15 p.m. Tuesday in Western Division Court, before which Thoburn will hire his own attorney.

Thoburn was placed on paid administrative leave Thursday by the Union Local Board of Education. With school set to begin Aug. 26, the board also appointed Ben Porter as acting superintendent.

According to Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas, Thoburn, 53, was arrested by Belmont County authorities Thursday afternoon after a warrant was served on his home. Lucas said deputies received a complaint regarding alleged misconduct and began an investigation.

Thoburn is charged with four counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor. While no further details of the alleged crime were available Thursday, Ohio Revised Code states the charge is brought against a person who is alleged to create, reproduce, publish, sell, disseminate or otherwise possess obscene material that has a minor as one of its participants or observers.

No additional information was available Friday, as Lucas said the ongoing investigation involves minors and is “sensitive.”