Trial ordered for ex-Pittsburgh Mifflin PTA president on theft charges

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A former Pittsburgh Mifflin PreK-8 parent-teacher association president accused of using anti-bullying program money for personal expenses will stand trial on felony theft charges.

Lutual Love, 64, was charged July 22 with two counts of theft by unlawful taking and a count of access device fraud, a forgery charge, after an investigator with the Allegheny County district attorney's office found he misappropriated $8,520.79 from a Heinz Endowment grant.

He was held for court on all three counts at a preliminary hearing scheduled for this morning, court records show. Defense attorney Almon Stith Burke Jr. did not return messages Friday afternoon.

Detective Jackelyn Weibel wrote in a criminal complaint that Mr. Love "misused his trusted volunteer position within Mifflin Schools to use moneys for his personal benefit that were supposed to be used to benefit the children of Mifflin School."

Prosecutors said Mr. Love mixed his personal money and Propel Foundation funds in an account that held the $31,670 Heinz grant for the anti-bullying program. According to the complaint, he withdraw cash from that PNC account, once at Rivers Casino, and used money for personal expenses at dry cleaners, Lowes and Petco, among others.

A Propel official said checks were for work Mifflin PTA volunteers did for Propel, including coordination of buses and distribution of Propel charter schools, according to the complaint. Mr. Love, as PTA president, facilitated the work, but the checks were intended to go to the PTA, according to the complaint.

Mr. Love ran the anti-bullying program at Mifflin, in Lincoln Place, and earlier this year was a volunteer as a school ambassador for A+ Schools, for the Hazelwood African-American Forum, and for the anti-bullying advocacy group Bully Police USA.

He had stepped down as an officer in the Mifflin PTA but remains a member, Pittsburgh Public Schools spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said.

Mr. Love has had legal trouble before.

He pleaded guilty to drug possession in 1997 and to involuntary manslaughter in the 1960s. In 1975, he was charged with statutory rape, corruption of minors and promoting prostitution -- charges later dismissed and that he has said were unfounded.

In April, a group of angry parents, outraged that someone with a criminal record was working with children, met with district officials and school board members.

Superintendent Linda Lane said at that meeting that Mr. Love has clearances to work with children despite his criminal record. While some offenses preclude volunteering in schools, his do not, she said then.

education - neigh_city - breaking

Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1944 and on Twitter: @borntolede.


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