Sympathy for the Bad Guys: The Good Rev. Olds Heads Back to the Slam

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When we last met the Reverend Mark C. Olds, he was pushing state legislation that would allow ex-cons with multiple convictions to get their records sealed [“Forgive and Forget?” September 21, 2005]. "It's a jobs bill," he said at the time. Olds painted himself as the perfect spokesman for reformed criminals. He claims to have found Jesus in federal prison, after flirting with a life of crime that included convictions for involuntary manslaughter and robbery. Years later, he moved to Cleveland, got a masters degree from Case Western, wrote the obligatory sob story about his resurrection, and got a job at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church. Alas, Olds couldn’t resist the lure of the slam. Yesterday, he was convicted of using a charter school, Cleveland Academy of Math, Science and Technology, to steal $1.4 million. According to federal investigators, Olds submitted trumped up attendance numbers in his reports to the state, and pocketed the profits from the sale of the school’s Woodland Avenue building. Classes were held there for only three months, but during that time, the kids suffered in a building with no heat and crumbling walls. Who’s ready to forgive the good Reverend Olds now? – Lisa Rab

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