Extortion threat at Watterson; phone lines jammed with calls

Bishop Watterson High School has been besieged with phone calls and has been the victim of attempted extortion since the firing of longtime physical education teacher Carla Hale.

According to Columbus police reports, school officials received an email at 9 a.m. Friday, April 19, "stating that a well-known LGBT group would be coming to the school protesting the firing of a teacher.

"This email stated the protest would be in three stages," the reporting officer noted. "Video in and out of the school, couples would then enter the school kissing, and then pictures and video would be posted on the Internet. The email also stated that if the school wanted to avoid the situation, they could send $10,000 to them and $10,000 to the teacher."

At 1:30 p.m. April 17, Watterson Principal Marian Hutson contacted police to report that, as a result of the "media storm" over Hale's dismissal, the school had been receiving hundreds of calls from all over the country.

"Some of these calls are threatening in nature, non-specific, yet can and are being taken in a threatening manner," according to police re-port.

School officials were advised to save and document all calls and letters received. The Columbus Dispatch reported Hutson is being escorted to and from her vehicle at the Catholic high school by a police officer.