Attorney argues for innocence of CPS teacher arrested on drug charges
“This is a case of ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’”
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Drugs allegedly found in the home of a Cincinnati Public Schools teacher did not belong to her, according to criminal defense attorney Mark Krumbein.
Krumbein, who is representing 36-year-old Laura Morand, says the drugs belonged to a young man Morand took in following his father’s death.
He also says Morand had no knowledge of the alleged drug possession or trafficking that gave rise to the criminal charge against her.
Morand was arrested on Thursday at Evanston Academy, where she is a math and social studies teacher for the fifth and sixth grades.
The arresting officers described her, according to Krumbein, as “the most clueless person they had ever talked to” regarding the allegations.
The arrest follows a Nov. 2 search of Morand’s Clifford Road home during which investigators say they found “a large amount of narcotics” packaged for distribution. Krumbein says Morand was home when investigators executed the search warrant.
Morand, who has no prior criminal record, now faces a charge of permitting drug use. Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Tom Heekin released her without bond Friday morning.
The Norwood Police Department is handling the investigation. A spokesperson says Morand’s case is connected to a criminal case against 19-year-old Paul McGee.
McGee was arrested on Nov. 2. Eight days later, a grand jury indicted him on 15 counts including possessing and preparing for shipment nearly 33 grams of fentanyl and an unknown amount of heroin.
McGee posted a $100,000 cash bond on Nov. 30.
Krumbein, who also represents McGee, says Morand took him in some years ago after his father was killed.
Eventually, Morand secured custody of McGee. Now that he’s an adult, according to Krumbein, he no longer lives at her house full-time, though he and his 3-month-old baby frequently stay there.
“She’s sort of like a second mother to him, but he also has a young baby and he sometimes is with the mother of his child, and sometimes they all stay together at [Morand’s] house, so it’s a pretty close bond,” Krumbein said.
“[Morand] kept an open door for him when he wanted to come home, so she’s been a big help to him, and sadly she’s been accused of allowing drug abuse in the home.”
According to court documents, Morand isn’t unfamiliar with McGee’s history of drug offenses.
In February Morand paid McGee’s bond after his arrest for a drug trafficking charge that a grand jury ultimately ignored. She did the same in April, though in that case of drug possession he was convicted by plea.
Krumbein maintains her innocence.
“This is a case of ‘no good deed goes unpunished,’” he said. “She was doing a lot of good things. She is a devout Catholic. And all of a sudden, she’s been arrested at school, and that was very embarrassing and humiliating for her.”
The attorney offers Morand’s job as an excuse for her alleged ignorance of the drug trafficking that investigators say took place inside her home.
“She’s a full-time teacher and she’s not always home,” he said.
Morand’s case will next go to a grand jury.
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