Hansen files claims against school, police
WATKINS GLEN--After the trespassing charge against Hector resident Kristina Hansen was dismissed April 7, Hansen has now filed notices of claim against the Watkins Glen Central School District and village police. Hansen was arrested March 21, prior to the start of a regular school board meeting. Previously, March 11, she was escorted off of school grounds by police after attempting to attend a closed staff meeting. After the March 11 incident, Superintendent Tom Phillips informed Hansen she must obtain written permission before visiting school grounds. Hansen did not follow this process when she attempted to attend the March 21 school board meeting.
In addition to the claims, Hansen said she expects to be arraigned on a revised charge stemming from the March 21 arrest. While the original charge was dismissed, Special Prosecutor Barry Porsche had the option to refile the charges if proper allegations were found. Hansen's attorney Ray Schlather said the initial charge was "trespass as a violation," which he said a person is guilty of when they unlawfully enter or remain upon premises.
"On its face, that was clearly an inappropriate charge and subject to dismissal," Schlather said. "There is no question about that."
Schlather said the new charge is "criminal trespass in the third degree," a class B misdemeanor. This allegation provides for a person knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully on a property when they have been told to leave by a school board, administrative or faculty member. He added this still suffers from the same problem with the first charge in that a person is no longer deemed to be unlawfully on the premises during an open meeting of the school board.
"The only time they would have the authority to say that is if you became disruptive in some fashion," Schlather said. "[...] You have to be disruptive in the moment."
In Hansen's notice of claim to the school district, she names Phillips and School Board President Kelly McCarthy in her claim. Officers Isaac Marmor and Jamie Coleman were named in Hansen's claim against the Watkins Glen Police Department.
"The nature of the claims is in tort for false arrest and unlawful imprisonment, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, trespass to person and battery," according to the notice of claim issued by Schlather. "Further, the claims include all those that arise out of violations of claimant's state and federal constitutional and statutory rights, including, most centrally, her freedom of speech and freedom to assemble."
The claim goes into detail about the incident March 11, which Hansen said was attended by a quorum of the members of the school board. It also provides the text of the letter by Phillips requiring Hansen to obtain written permission prior to visiting school or district offices. Hansen also said when Phillips physically blocked her from entering the March 21 meeting, he did so "with the consent, cooperation and approval of McCarthy." The notice of claim also states the criminal trespass charge was dismissed at the April 7 arraignment "because of legal and factual insufficiency."