Police urging Buchanan case - East Valley Tribune: News

Police urging Buchanan case

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Posted: Saturday, April 24, 2004 7:16 am

A criminal investigation into a Tempe superintendent accused of harassing a woman is expected to be submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Phoenix police said Friday.

At the same time, Tempe Union High School District Superintendent James Buchanan, who was seeking employment with a Nevada school district, was dropped from consideration of the administrative post, the Las Ve gas Review-Journal reported Thursday.

If county prosecutors decide not to file aggravated harassment charges, a felony, against Buchanan, police are prepared to submit the case to Phoenix Municipal Court under misdemeanor charges, police Sgt. Lauri Williams said.

Phoenix police have named Buchanan, 51, as a suspect in an investigation related to three vulgar letters mailed anonymously to an Ahwatukee Foothills woman after she obtained an order of protection May 22 against him.

In a statement June 25, Buchanan acknowledged having an extramarital affair with the 43-yearold woman, who is a parent in the district, from November 2002 until about February 2003.

The woman alleges Buchanan began to stalk her soon after the relationship ended.

"We have a very adamant victim who says the suspect violated the order of protection," Williams said.

Police also will submit handwriting samples provided by Buchanan.

The anonymous letters, postmarked in June and July in Phoenix, include crude comments about the woman and her daughter, a senior in the high school district.

Buchanan has denied having any involvement with sending the letters, according to a police report.

Buchanan has remained the district’s superintendent since an internal investigation concluded June 25 that the woman’s allegations had no merit.

His $120,000-per-year contract expires June 30 and he has applied for two positions within the Clark County School District in Las Vegas.

Buchanan was set to be recommended to Clark County school board members as the most-qualified candidate for the position of director of research and development, but a district official told the Review-Journal that the endorsement is being withdrawn because of the still ongoing criminal investigation.

He was among five candidates for another position in the same district earlier this year but the position was filled internally.

Buchanan, who is married and has three children, did not return messages Thursday or Friday.

Buchanan has been superintendent in Tempe for 13 years.

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