Lawsuits settled in home school arrest case

FONDA – A pair of lawsuits filed by two parents who were charged with child endangerment in 2010 – after allegations they failed to register their home-schooled children – have ended after an out-of-court settlement was reached.

The lawsuits filed by the couple, Richard and Margie Cressy, were dismissed without prejudice by the United States District Court Northeastern District of New York on April 23, after the family and the defendants settled out of court through a mediator.

The couple filed separate lawsuits in December 2013 against Montgomery County, Sheriff Michael Amato and retired Sheriff’s Investigator William Gilston. The lawsuits allege the couples constitutional rights were violated.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed by the parties involved in the lawsuit.

The case made news nationwide after they were charged by Montgomery County sheriff’s investigators in January 2010 with four counts each of endangering the welfare of a child after failing to submit a notice of intent to home school to the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District in which they lived for about seven years.

The charged were later dropped in May 2010 after a judge determined the couple filed the paperwork needed to register the children as home-schooled.

The Cressy’s attorney Elmer Robert Keach said on Friday he can’t give much information on the case.

“The matter has been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction,” Keach said. “That’s all I can say about it.”

According to the lawsuits, the couple chose to home-school their children on religious grounds and bought educational material from a Christian publishing company Alpha Omega Publications, which has met state Education recommendations for parents who choose to home school.

The Cressys said they told an investigator they thought the filing requirements had been met when an instructional plan was filed several years earlier with the state. The Cressys said in both their lawsuits that they were unaware the paperwork had to be resubmitted after that.

Prior to the pair’s arrest, they had already met with district officials and begun filing the necessary paperwork.