Mayor Dave Wood couldn't look at the two campaign mailings lying on a table inside Mishawaka’s Republican Party headquarters Friday afternoon.
One read: “Unfortunately Dave Wood hired a child molester... Then, he refused to immediately fire him.”
The other asked: “What if your child was molested in City Hall, and the mayor refused to immediately fire the sexual predator?”
“I’m disgusted,” Mishawaka’s mayor said.
The fliers, which hit Mishawaka mailboxes Friday, were sent by the Democratic Party promoting Craig Fry - Wood’s opponent in Mishawaka’s upcoming mayoral election.
Fry said Friday that he was aware of the mailings and their content before the party sent them out.
Fry defended them, questioning Woods’ handling of the case of Andrew G. West.
West is a former Mishawaka Department of Community Development employee, who in August pleaded guilty to two felony counts of sexual misconduct with a pair of 15-year-old girls. He admits committing the illegal acts inside City Hall after hours. He is due to be sentenced Oct. 25
West was placed on unpaid administrative leave June 6, then fired from his city job June 17 following an internal investigation.
“Where’s the outrage?” Fry asked over the phone.
“Where is the outrage about a mayor who did not act precisely and immediately about this man who admitted that he molested those girls?”
Wood called the accusations “untrue, unfair and mean-spirited” during a conference Friday afternoon at the city’s Republican headquarters.
Wood said he was notified June 5 by Mishawaka police that two 15-year-old girls had filed a complaint charging West with sexual misconduct.
The next morning, Wood says, West was placed on unpaid administrative leave pending an investigation.
On June 17, West was fired.
“We believe that due process should prevail,” Wood explained of the period between the time West was notified of his unpaid administrative leave status and his termination.
“We wanted to conduct a fair investigation of the facts of the case. Once we determined that we had enough evidence that (West) violated our code of conduct, we terminated him immediately.”
The mayor noted, “During that time he did not receive one dollar in pay, nor did he take one step in City Hall.”
West was hired by the city of Mishawaka on July 16, 2007 - when Jeff Rea was mayor.