Tuesday, September 13, 2016 || Originally Published: Forest Park Review || By Bob Uphues
A veteran member of the Proviso Township High School District 209 Board of Education has been charged with battery and assault for his alleged role in an altercation with another board member after a school board meeting on Aug. 9.
Kevin McDermott, 62, surrendered to Forest Park police on Aug. 26 after police advised him that board member Theresa Kelly, 73, wanted to press charges against him. He will appear in court for an initial hearing on Sept. 20 at the Maybrook courthouse.
According to a report obtained from Forest Park police, discharge papers from Oak Park Hospital indicated that Kelly suffered a sprained shoulder and cuts to her hand during the scuffle, which took place in a small room adjacent to the board room at Proviso Math and Science Academy, where the board’s Aug. 9 meeting took place.
Reached by phone Tuesday, McDermott referred questions to his attorney, Thomas Durkin, who could not be immediately reached.
Kelly said Tuesday that she had not been charged in the incident.
According to one witness interviewed by police, McDermott and Kelly entered the small room following a brief but contentious exchange at the board table about videotaping school board meetings.
The witness told police that Kelly took a Styrofoam box of chicken from a table and that McDermott “alligator clamped” the box with his hands. The action is described in the police report as someone “clapping his hands together with his arms outstretched forward and the top hand coming down to make contact with his other hand.”
After McDermott clamped down on the box, according to the witness, both Kelly and McDermott continued to hold onto the box, destroying it and sending chicken “flying.”
Both that witness and another reportedly told police that McDermott had his fists clenched as if he were going to throw a punch. Someone stepped in to break up the scuffle before it escalated further,
McDermott told police that during the tug-of-war over the box of chicken, Kelly flailed her arms, hitting him in the face and knocking off his glasses. McDermott reportedly suffered a cut lip. He reportedly admitted to grabbing Kelly’s right arm at the bicep during the scuffle.
Kelly, who wore a sling on her right arm when she came to Forest Park for an interview with police on Aug. 19, said McDermott grabbed her right hand and “jerked” her shoulder around during the scuffle.
The Proviso District 209 school board was scheduled to meet Tuesday night after the Forest Park Review’s press time. VFP
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