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Archive for Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Trial set for Baldwin school worker charged with hosting minors consuming alcohol

One teen reportedly badly burned during June bonfire

October 23, 2013

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Sherry L. Haskell of Baldwin City appears in this mugshot from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

Sherry L. Haskell of Baldwin City appears in this mugshot from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

A Baldwin City school district employee is awaiting trial on a charge of unlawfully hosting minors consuming alcohol at her home, where a teen reportedly was badly burned.

Sherry L. Haskell, 43, is scheduled for a jury trial Jan. 22 in Douglas County District Court. According to court records, Haskell was charged in July in connection with a June 8 incident at her Baldwin City home in the 800 block of East 1750 Road.

The mother of the injured teen said her 18-year-old son, 17 at the time, was picking up a friend from a party at Haskell’s house when someone threw a gas can into the bonfire. Mary Armstrong of Baldwin City said her son, Lukas Armstrong, ran to pull the gas can out of the fire before it exploded but that, instead, it exploded on him.

Lukas spent 18 days and underwent two surgeries in the burn unit at Kansas University Hospital, his mother said. His face, neck, chest and arm were badly burned, and he lost an ear, she said. He’s since had another surgery and is expected to need more.

An ambulance never went to Haskell’s house, Mary Armstrong said. The incident was not reported to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office until four days after it happened. Armstrong filed the report June 12, after Lukas was able to speak again and told her what happened, she said.

Armstrong said her son was at the party only briefly and was not drinking but that other minors there were.

Haskell pleaded not guilty to the charge against her, according to court records. The Journal-World’s attempts to reach her today were unsuccessful.

Haskell is head cook at Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center, according to the school district website.

Baldwin City school district Superintendent Paul Dorathy declined to comment on the charges or whether they would affect Haskell’s employment with the district.

“It’s a personnel matter, and we have no comment because of that,” Dorathy said.

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