IPS employees at center of failure to report case plan to resign

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Two Indianapolis Public Schools employees have asked to resign after being charged with failing to report sex abuse allegations against a former school counselor.

According to documents from the IPS School Board, Lela “Tina” Hester and Shalon Dabney cited “personal reasons” for their resignations, which would become effective Thursday.

FOX59 has learned IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee sent the two women letters on May 31 stating he was recommending their termination. The district received letters of resignation from Hester and Dabney the same day.

Hester, the human resources director, and Dabney, a case manager, were each charged with a misdemeanor count of failure to report. They were among several IPS officials who knew about allegations against former counselor Shana Taylor. While those allegations first came to light on Feb. 17, IPS didn’t report Taylor to the Indiana Department of Child Services until Feb. 23.

State law requires schools to immediately report such cases.

Taylor is accused of having sex with students and faces nine felony counts of child seduction, one felony count of dissemination of matter harmful to minors and one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

A student’s mother met with Assistant Principal William Jensen to report Taylor. According to court documents, she showed him inappropriate messages and photos exchanged between Taylor and her son. Jensen contacted Principal Mark Cosand and Director of Student Services Deb Leser; Leser told him to contact Hester. After receiving the information from Jensen, Hester forwarded it to Dabney.

In the meantime, the allegations against Taylor went unreported for several days.

Hester and Dabney both agreed to pretrial diversion in their case, meaning they’ll avoid prosecution as long as they meet certain benchmarks and avoid committing another offense. The Marion County Prosecutor's Office is looking into whether the women's resignations impact their agreements.

The IPS board is expected to take action on the resignations Thursday.