TOWSON, Md. —
Former Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance was sentenced Friday morning for lying about money he accepted, but did not report to the school system.
Dance was sentenced to a five-year prison term with all but six months suspended, two years of probation and 700 community service hours to begin next Friday.
His sentence will be served at the Baltimore County Detention Center.
Dance showed up to court hoping for a break. He stood before Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Cox and said, “I’m embarrassed, I’m sorry. I’m seriously remorseful for my actions.”
But his plea may have come too little, too late. State prosecutors said Dance was very much aware of what he was doing.
“This was not about a lapse of judgment or confusion. It was blatant, deliberate and deceitful,” state prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt said.
Prosecutors said Dance essentially ran out of second chances.
“If Dr. Dance had stopped, we wouldn’t have been here because it wouldn’t have risen to the level of a crime or we wouldn’t have become aware of it,” Davitt said.
The state recommended Dance be sentenced to five years with all but 18 months suspended.
“We were recommending a longer sentence, but we are gratified that the court did impose a period of incarceration. The judge has to weigh all sides of this issue. She is a good and fair judge,” Davitt said.
Dance pleaded guilty in March to four counts of perjury arising from false filings of his financial disclosure statements for 2012, 2013 and 2015, prosecutors said.
“It was a foolish decision. He made a stupid mistake,” said Dance’s lawyer, Jay Graham. “This is basically about an honest man that did a dishonest thing.”
On three occasions, Graham mentioned the name of current school superintendent, Verletta White, saying in regard to her filling out financial disclosure forms, “She did exactly the same thing.”
The prosecution disagreed.
“I think the statement of facts set forth that there was a clear motivation to deceive. From that sense, it seems very different from anything else that I’ve heard,” Davitt said.
Referring to Dance, Bob Dubel, a former Baltimore County Public Schools superintendent, told the court, “I view this behavior as a violation of family trust. I am deeply hurt.”
Prosecutors said the case was always bigger than Dance.
“It’s not so much, at this point, a matter of punishing Dr. Dance as much as it is as sending that message to the community, not just school officials, but all public officials,” Davitt said.
The state called on a former school superintendent, a former county executive and a current Board of Education member to make the case that Dance had violated
public trust. About a half-dozen witnesses spoke on Dance’s behalf.
Before sending Dance to jail, the judge said, “It’s not simply that he failed to fill out forms. He misled.”
Dance was superintendent of BCPS for five years, from 2012 until April 2017. Friday is his 37th birthday.
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