Union Local superintendent arrested

MORRISTOWN – Union Local School District Superintendent Douglas Thoburn has been arrested and was booked into the Belmont County Jail on four charges of pandering obscenity involving a minor.

Thoburn, 53, was taken into custody early Thursday afternoon, and a search warrant was served on his home in Belmont. He was transported to the jail. No bond was set.

The Belmont County Sheriff’s Office is handling the investigation. Thoburn was placed on paid administrative leave following the arrest. Ben Porter has been appointed as acting superintendent.

“The investigation is still pending,” said Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas. “The school will be cooperating with us.”

The Belmont County Department of Jobs and Family Services, Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Crimes against Children Unit and Cyber Crimes Unit will be assisting in the investigation.

The case will be prosecuted by the Belmont County Prosecutor’s Office.

The Union Local School Board released a statement late Thursday evening. The release states: “The Union Local School board is saddened and alarmed over the allegations concerning the possible criminal activity by Superintendent Thoburn and is cooperating with the authorities as they investigate this matter … Union Local has a proud tradition of excellence and will work tirelessly to continue that tradition and provide our students, staff and faculty with the best environment in which to excel … The Board asks that the Union Local Family unite at this difficult hour to guide their school and to bring it to a new height of excellence as it continues to serve our communities.”

The statement was released by Union Local Board President Dean Lancaster and attorney Gary Smith. The board will continue to prepare for the school year and to welcome its students back.

Thoburn was appointed superintendent in 2013. He retired from the United States Air Force in September of 1999 after a 20 – year career. In his time in the public school system, Thoburn has worked as a high school guidance, middle and high school principal and district director of career/ technical education.

He is married with three children and four grandchildren.

Van Dyne can be reached at kvandyne@timesleader online.com.