Reporting Mike DeNardo
By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia couple claims they’re being unfairly prosecuted for sending their daughter to a Montgomery County school.
Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman, last summer, filed criminal theft of service charges against Hamlet and Olesia Garcia of Philadelphia, alleging the Garcias illegally sent their 5-year-old daughter to Pine Road Elementary School in Lower Moreland.
Thomas Kenny, the attorney for the couple, questions the charges.
“How can a mother who takes her child to where she’s living not expect that she can’t sign her child up to that school,” Kenny says.
At a news conference on Thursday, Hamlet Garcia explained he and his wife separated last year, with Olesia and daughter Fiorella moving to Lower Moreland to live with her father. When the couple reconciled and Olesia moved back to Philadelphia, Garcia says they decided to let their daughter finish the last two months of the school year in Montgomery County.
“We’re asking the District Attorney Risa Ferman to please, to take a look at this case and allow my family what we always offered to do,” Garcia says, “to pay the tuition and drop the charges.”
When the charges were brought, the district attorney said there was no evidence the child ever lived in Lower Moreland.
Hamlet Garcia says the D-A just wants to make an example out of his case.
“They don’t want us to pay,” he says. “They just want to send a message.”
There’s been no comment from D-A Risa Ferman.
The Garcias face arraignment December 19th.