Cherokee official surrenders on false report charges

Two of the three people accused of filing a false police report claiming the Cherokee County schools superintendent tried to hit them with his car turned themselves in to Canton police on Saturday.

Arrest warrants had been issued for Kelly Marlow, a Cherokee County School Board member, and Robert Trim, a political adviser, charged with felony false statements, according to Canton police spokesman Pacer Cordry.

Barbara Knowles, the Cherokee County Republican Party secretary, was released from the Cherokee Adult Detention Center Sunday afternoon after posting a $11,800 bond. She is charged with a misdemeanor false report of a crime and felony false statements, Cordry said.

On June 13, Knowles told Canton police that Cherokee County Schools Superintendent Frank Petruzielo tried to strike her, Marlow and Trim while they were crossing the street in front of the Painted Pig Tavern. Knowles acknowledged the group was not in a cross walk at the time, Cordry said.

“Knowles stated that she and Marlow and Trim had just left a heated school board meeting,” he said.

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The following day the report was turned over to the criminal investigations division.

“After a thorough investigation, Canton detectives were able to determine that Knowles had made a false police report and Knowles, Marlow, and Trim had all provided false statements to detectives,” Cordry said.

In a statement sent to the Cherokee Tribune, Petruzielo said the allegation against him “has no basis in fact.”

Tensions on the school board have been building for months. Marlow filed a complaint to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in June, alleging “nearly six months of obstruction, obfuscations, and insubordination on the part of the Cherokee County School District Superintendent and his staff.”

Attempts to reach Knowles, Marlow and Trim were unsuccessful.

—Staff writer Cailin O’Brien contributed to this article.

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