Avon School District Considers New Security Measures

AVON — The Avon school district is considering additional security and a restraining order against a Tyndall woman who allegedly assaulted the school attorney.

Miriam Leibel, 58, faces two felony counts of aggravated assault in First Circuit Court at Tyndall. She allegedly threatened Avon attorney Scott Swier in a Feb. 3 incident after hours at his Main Street office in Avon.

A Bon Homme County grand jury indicted Leibel on the charges last week, which refer to use of a weapon. Both charges are Class 3 felonies. Each carries a maximum punishment of 15 years imprisonment and a $30,000 fine.

In addition, the court has issued a restraining order that Leibel have no contact with Swier. She must also remain more than 1,000 feet away from the Swier Law office at 202 North Main Street, Avon.

Avon Superintendent Tom Culver told the Press & Dakotan Friday that the school board discussed the incident at this week’s regular monthly meeting.

The issue goes beyond Swier’s role as school attorney, Culver said. The defendant has alleged that both Swier and the school district have sent “Satanic” messages to her through her television and computer.

“We are going to continue with our security at the front doors. We are in talks to decide what to do if the accused gets out of jail,” Culver said.

“She is in a (mental health) facility in Sioux Falls and, when released from there, will be arrested by the sheriff’s department.”

Circuit Judge Cheryle Gering has set Leibel’s bond at $100,000 cash, an increase from the original $5,000.

Avon school officials are looking at possible necessary action once Leibel is released from the mental health facility and possibly bonded out of jail, Culver said.

“At the board meeting, we talked about planning for the possibility of her eventually getting out of jail,” the superintendent said. “We’re looking at getting a restraining order, too.”

According to court records, the first charge alleges Leibel committed aggravated assault in that “she did then and there attempt to cause, or knowingly caused, bodily injury to another, i.e. Scott Swier, with a dangerous weapon.”

The second charge alleges Leibel committed aggravated assault in that “she did then and there attempt by physical menace with a deadly weapon to put another, i.e., Scott Swier, in fear of imminent serious bodily (injury).”

As of Friday afternoon, court records didn’t contain further information on the alleged assault, including the circumstances, the weapon used in the alleged attack, and the type and extent of any injuries suffered by Swier.

However, Swier spoke with Sioux Falls television network Dakota News Now about the alleged incident. He said it started when he was the only one left in his office for the day and stayed late to continue work.

Leibel allegedly entered the office and held him a gunpoint. Swier said he didn’t realize at first the woman was standing in his doorway and pointing a handgun at him.

Leibel indicated the school district and Swier, as school attorney were sending her Satanic messages over the television and her computer, the lawyer said. He realized the situation involved a potential mental illness issue.

Swier allegedly sought to “talk down” the woman and negotiated with her for an estimated 3-5 minutes. She continued to point the handgun, and then she pulled out a knife, he said.

He convinced her to put down both weapons and took her to his conference room. In the meantime, he was discreetly texting his wife for assistance.

A law enforcement officer arrived at the law firm and arrested the woman, Swier told Dakota News Now.

In the meantime, the Avon school district will monitor the situation and continue its discussion on school security, Culver said.

“(We have) many things to consider,” he said.

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