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A St. Mary’s College of Maryland assistant vice president was charged last week with four felony counts of theft alleging he stole more than $10,000 from a Baltimore charter school where he was principal.

A Baltimore City grand jury charged William “Lenny” Howard II, 37, with making four unauthorized transfers totalling $10,300 from the Coppin Academy student activity fund bank account into his personal bank accounts, according to a Dec. 13 statement from the state prosecutor’s office.

Howard was the first principal at the Coppin Academy, a charter school that operates on the campus of Coppin University, a Coppin spokesperson said.

Howard, who began working at St. Mary’s College in the summer of 2008 soon after leaving Coppin Academy, would have been working at St. Mary’s during the time of the alleged thefts.

“Stealing from a student activity fund set up for the students of Coppin Academy is a reprehensible offense and simply cannot be tolerated,” Emmet C. Davitt, state prosecutor, said in a statement.

Howard could not be reached by phone or email for comment.

Beth Rushing, dean of faculty and vice president of academic affairs at St. Mary’s College, said Howard was placed on paid administrative leave Friday.

The St. Mary’s College office of academic services, which is led by Howard, supports students through various programs, including student orientation days, advising, helping those with external scholarships and helping students who fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act. He also assists students who struggle academically, according to the college’s website.

“He worked with students to help them navigate the college,” Rushing said.

The matter was referred to the Maryland Office of the State Prosecutor by the Baltimore city school system, according to the prosecutor’s office.

The first count of the indictment essentially consolidates the four other charges into one, saying that from about April 25, 2011, to Nov. 30, 2011, Howard stole more than $10,000 from Coppin Academy.

Count two of the indictment says Howard stole $4,000 from the academy on May 23, 2011.

Counts three and four allege Howard stole $3,000 on Nov. 28, 2011, and then again on Nov. 30, 2011. Each comes with a penalty of 10 years in prison and or $10,000 fine.

The fifth count alleges Howard transferred $300 from the academy on April 25, a misdemeanor charge.

The state prosecutor can investigate on his own initiative, or at the request of the governor, the attorney general, the general assembly, the state ethics commission, or a state's attorney, certain criminal offenses, including state election, ethics or bribery law violations; misconduct in office by public officials or employees; and extortion, perjury or obstruction of justice related to any of the above.

jyeatman@somdnews.com