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Former Lawrence school superintendent Laboy found guilty of embezzlement, possession of alcohol on school property

Ex-school chief awaits sentencing

The former superintendent of the Lawrence public schools was found guilty Thursday of embezzlement and possession of alcohol on school property, the Essex district attorney’s office said.

Wilfredo Laboy was found guilty in Salem Superior Court on five charges of embezzlement and one charge of possession of alcohol on school property, said Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokeswoman for Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett. Laboy was found not guilty on three other embezzlement charges.

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Laboy was fired in 2010 from his position as school superintendent after it was alleged that he used school employees to do his personal errands, including picking up his grandchildren from school, to perform electrical work at his home, and to take out his trash.

After an eight-day trial, the jury deliberated for three hours before making their decision.

Laboy is expected to be sentenced Friday morning in Salem Superior Court by Judge Richard Welch, Kimball-Monahan said.

“At this point, it’s a chapter we need to move past,’’ Marc Laplante, a Lawrence councilor, said Thursday.

“As a city, we need to regroup and devote ourselves to making sure our educational system improves.’’

Frank McLaughlin, president of the Lawrence Teachers’ Union, was not surprised by the jury’s decision. After working with Laboy for over 10 years, he said the ruling is long overdue.

“No one suffered more through the tenure of Fredo Laboy than the students, teachers, and parents of Lawrence,’’ he said.

Months after the state Board of Education voted to put the school district into receivership, McLaughlin believes things are looking up.

Jeffrey Riley, an administrator known for helping turn around several Boston schools, was chosen by state education officials to lead the Lawrence schools at the beginning of the year.

“We’ve gone from selfish leadership, to selfless leadership,’’ McLaughlin said. “Now we can do what we need to do.’’

Laboy’s lawyer did not return a call for comment.

A phone call to Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua was not answered.

Amanda Cedrone can be reached at acedrone@globe.com.
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