Mar 17, 2010 11:27 AM by Letitia Walker
GREENSBURG, La. (AP) - A school guidance counselor has pleaded
guilty to arson and burglary in connection with a major fire at St.
Helena Central High School 16 months ago.
District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said Tuesday the counselor,
Lisa Cryer, 43, received concurrent prison sentences of five years
at hard labor from Judge Doug Hughes in 21st Judicial Court after
her plea Monday to charges of simple arson and simple burglary.
"Her counseling days will be put on hold," Perrilloux said.
He said the defendant had taken almost $9,000 in concession
funds from the school, and she and a companion set the fire to
cover up the theft.
However, the fire did not burn the classroom closet in which
Cryer said the funds from a homecoming football game were located,
said Richard McShan, the prosecutor who handled the case.
Investigators who later recovered most of the stolen money from
Cryer's home said Cryer admitted to helping Steven A. Warren, of
Mount Hermon, set the fire.
In October, Warren was sentenced to five years at hard labor in
the case, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Cryer, a counselor at the school for two years, had been in
charge of collecting cash receipts from the homecoming game, state
Fire Marshal H. Butch Browning said at the time of the
The fire occurred early in the morning of Nov. 3, 2008, when no
students or workers were at the school, so the case was not
considered aggravated arson, Perrilloux said.
Simple arson can carry a sentence of from two to 15 years and
simple burglary has no mandatory sentence, but can carry up to 12
years, Perrilloux said.
He said the plea agreement did not include any reduction in the
charges against the guidance counselor.