ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Union Local Schools Superintendent Douglas Thoburn is on paid administrative leave after he was arrested Thursday afternoon and charged with pandering obscenity involving a minor.
According to 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.
Lucas said school officials have been and will continue to be cooperative during the ongoing investigation.
The Union Local Board of Education met in an emergency session Thursday and placed Thoburn on paid administrative leave for an unspecified length of time. Additionally, they appointed Ben Porter as acting superintendent for the district.
According to a statement released by board of education president Dean Lancaster, through attorney Gary Smith, the board is "saddened and alarmed" over the allegations.
"The board asks that the Union Local family ... unite at this difficult hour to guide their school," the statement reads. The statement also directs all inquiries for statements on the matter to Smith.
Thoburn was hired as superintendent in February 2013 to replace the retiring Kirk Glasgow. Thoburn grew up in Cambridge and served 20 years in the Air Force, 13 of which he spent as a training instructor at an Oklahoma airlift center.
He has a bachelor's degree in vocational education from Southern Illinois University and a master's degree in human relations from the University of Oklahoma.
After retiring from the Air Force, he earned his principal's certification from Muskingum College and a superintendent's certification from Salem International in Salem, W.Va.
The Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services, the Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation Crimes Against Children Unit and Cyber Crimes Unit all assisted in the investigation. BCI officials declined to comment Thursday, saying only the unit assisted the sheriff's department in the investigation.
Thoburn is being held in Belmont County Jail, where he had not been arraigned late Thursday. The case will be handled by the Belmont County Prosecutor's Office.