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Snow Delays Court Session For Former Lacey Superintendent Sandra Brower

James Habel and Sandra Brower
James Habel and Sandra Brower
Snow delayed a status conference for two former Wall Township school district administrators who face possible extended jail time stemming from two cases of alleged misconduct.

Former Lacey Superintendent Sandra Brower, who was released on her own recognizance, pleaded not guilty in the summer to charges of official misconduct, hindering apprehension and obstruction. She faces 16 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Former Superintendent James F. Habel faces a maximum sentence of 97 years in prison if convicted on all charges. His bail was set by Vernoia at $250,000 with an option to post a 10 percent bond.

Both were scheduled to appear at 1:30 p.m. Friday, but the courthouse was closed.

Both appeared before Superior Court Judge Francis J. Vernoia in Freehold during the summer for an arraignment hearing. Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Charles Webster confirmed the pleas.

Habel, 56, now of Dunedin, Fla., pleaded not guilty to 14 charges including official misconduct, money laundering, theft, eight counts of falsifying records and stealing a district-paid iPad. Authorities have said he took more than $400,000 from the district by claiming he worked when he was actually out of state, and taking actions to falsify vacation and other records.

Prosecutors also have charged him with mortgage fraud, based on statements he allegedly made to banks regarding the mortgages on his house in Florida and his previous home in Point Pleasant.

He is also charged in a separate case with failing to notify authorities of the possible abuse of a child by a teacher.

Habel has been joined in court by Brower, 46, his former assistant superintendent, who most recently served as superintendent of the Lacey Township school district.

Brower was initially charged and arraigned in the case of failing to notify authorities of possible abuse, but had to be re-arraigned on those charges Monday since Habel's name was added to an indictment.

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