Before Anthony Day agreed to testify on the behavior of a friend and neighbor, he appeared before the Sweet Home School Board.
This is because Day is the superintendent of Sweet Home and his friend Luiz Pereira has been found guilty of unlawful contact with a child.
Day said that the sexual assault charges were at odds with the man he's known for eight years.
"I did what I did because I thought it was morally and ethically the right thing to do, so to support someone I felt needed support." , said Day in a recent interview.
Day testified that he had spoken in court as a private person and not as a district representative, but he acknowledged that the public might have trouble making that distinction.
Despite this, the school board has confirmed Day's decision to support his friend, who is now a registered sex offender.
"He's not going out there to try to change a verdict." He'll say, "This is a person I know," said Scott Johnson, vice president of the board of directors. I was comfortable with that, yes, even though there was a risk of backlash. "
Pereira, 54, was arrested in January 2018 and accused of improperly touching an eleven-year-old boy in a Meadville, Pennsylvania, house near Erie several months ago, according to media reports. local.
Pereira is a resident of Amherst and a former director of Daemen College who worked at Allegheny College, in Meadville, until his dismissal following his arrest.
Day said he met Pereira for the first time as a district parent about 10 years ago, while Day was deputy director. Two years later, when Day was appointed superintendent, he and his family bought a house next to the Pereiras.
According to Day, families have become close over the years, their children coming in and out of their homes.
"We are not the best friends in the world, but we socialize," said Day. "He was just a genuine, genuine and good person."
Pereira told him about the summer of the impending lawsuit. Day said he found it hard to believe this accusation.
"That would be completely wrong for him." When I heard him, my reaction was, "What? "" Day said.
He said he was disappointed that a jury, in September, recognized Pereira guilty of unlawful contact with a minor, a crime and the corruption of a minor, a misdemeanor. Day says Pereira is appealing the verdict.
Day said that Pereira approached him for testifying to his good character at the sentencing hearing, but the superintendent said that he was already wondering how he could help his friend.
"There is another Luiz Pereira who is not represented," said Day.
Day said that he was not tolerating Pereira's behavior and he spoke as a private citizen. When asked if he was considering refusing because of the nature of the charge regarding an 11-year-old victim, Day said that he ultimately felt that "no one was going to be here." it was important to stick to his friend.
Day alerted the school board by informing him of his potential testimony during a closed session in October.
"I give him all the credit in the world for having the courage to go speak on behalf of his neighbor, knowing that some people will not understand," said board chair Michael Morrow.
Some school board members also know Pereira personally.
"I'm in the same boat as Tony," said Johnson, the vice president. "Knowing how I know him, and just how he has worked with kids and what he would do in the community, that makes no sense to me."
Day took a day off and went down to Meadville to talk for about a minute at the December 7 hearing. The judge sentenced Pereira to probation and ordered him to register as a sex offender for 25 years. He however stated that the case was troubling him and that there had to be more in this story, the Meadville Tribune reported.
Board members promised to support Day if and when news stories would be published. That happened at the end of last month, when WGRZ-TV reported on this topic.
The six members of the governing council signed a statement sent to parents and district staff who defended Day and explained to him that they had given him the go-ahead.
"I do not know the details of the situation and it's possible that I never know the details of the situation," said Jenna Tyson, president of the association of teachers' parents at Sweet Home Middle School, speaking only as a district parent. "But finally, I trust Tony and the school board."
Tyson stated that the testimony did not generate any intense reaction in either case.
Morrow and Johnson said the council had received an email from a critic, but that most of the responses were positive. Day said his experience was similar, although a neighbor yelled at him from across the street after the announcement of the news.