Hansen pleads not guilty to new charge
WATKINS GLEN--Hector resident Kristina Hansen pled not guilty to criminal trespass in the third degree Thursday, April 28, at the Watkins Glen village court. This charge stemmed from her arrest while attempting to enter an open meeting of the Watkins Glen school board in March. While an original trespassing charge was dismissed by Village Justice Connie Fern Miller, Hansen was rearraigned on a new charge Thursday, with her attorney Ray Schlather also filing a motion for dismissal based on "facial and legal insufficiency."
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.
While the original charge was dismissed, Special Prosecutor Barry Porsche had the option to refile the charges if proper allegations were found, which is what Hansen was arraigned on April 28. Hansen was also arrested on these new charges April 28 by Watkins Glen Village Police.
Schlather previously described the differences between the initial charge and the new charge, stating the new charge includes her being told to leave the grounds by school officials. While Hansen was told to leave, Schlather claims she was not on the grounds unlawfully.
"A board of education is a public body and subject to the provisions of the Open Meeting Law, which are to be liberally construed in accordance with the statute's purposes," said Schlather in a Memorandum of Law submitted to the court.
Miller did not make an immediate decision on the motion to dismiss this time, instead allowing the prosecution to respond within 20 days. A ruling is expected Thursday, May 19.
Hansen had also previously filed notices of claim against both the Watkins Glen school board and the Watkins Glen Village Police. 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 claims are for false arrest, unlawful imprisonment, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, trespass to person and battery.