CONTINENTAL — The Putnam County Prosecutor’s Office said Friday that charges will not be filed against a Continental teacher that allegedly had an inappropriate relationship with a student.
Nicole Baringer, 24, of Defiance, was placed on administrative leave by Continental schools superintendent Joel Mengerink, effective April 4, due to allegations of inappropriate behavior with a 16-year-old male student. Baringer was a foreign language teacher at the school. She also served as Miss Northwestern Ohio 2015, relinquishing her crown in November to the 2016 winner.
A joint investigation was conducted by the Continental Police Department and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. Results of the investigation were handed over to the prosecutor’s office.
“The investigation has concluded, and the prosecutor’s office has determined that there was no provable sexual contact,” said assistant prosecutor Todd Schroeder. “It does appear there was some inappropriate behavior, but nothing criminal.”
Schroeder said there was still the possibility of the school taking disciplinary action against Baringer.
School board president Dean Bidlack could not confirm if the situation would be addressed during the next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday. Mengerink was out of the office until Tuesday and could not be reached.
However, the board has an executive session for the employment of personnel as item No. 19 on its agenda.
Baringer’s personnel file at the school indicated she graduated from Ball State University in 2013 with a bachelor of arts with honors degree, majoring in Spanish and minoring in theater. In the Miss Ohio pageant, she listed singing as her talent. “Caring Hearts and Role Models” was her personal platform during the pageant. She stressed the importance of children and teenagers having good role models in their lives.
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at Twitter@LanceMihm