IPS declined an on camera interview regarding why the district would pay the legal fees, but IPS released this statement:
"Both employees signed diversion agreements and complied with those agreements; the result of which was the court dismissing all charges. It was at that time IPS reimbursed the attorneys’ fees as required under Board policy."
Board policy 8750 “indemnification” states that the board shall defend IPS employees involved legal action if the acts “were done in good faith and do not constitute malfeasance.”
IPS spokesperson Carrie Black said once prosecutors dropped the charges against Dabney and Hester, the district considered the women successful in their criminal cases, which meant they met the district’s definition of acting in “good faith.”
The district’s indemnification policy was adopted in January 1972, but the district declined to say how many other employees accused of crimes have had their legal expenses covered under the policy
State law requires schools to immediately report abuse or neglect allegations to law enforcement or the Indiana Department of Child Services.
Dabney and Hester were both suspended with pay, and then later resigned.
The diversion agreement does not involve an admission of guilt, but it is also not a final determination of innocence on the charges, according to a May 25, 2016 IPS memo.