CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Could charges be dropped against a man who made threats towards a Mount Pleasant daycare back in 2019? That is what attorneys pushed for during a hearing Thursday.
Attorneys for Michael Gorlitsky, who was charged with disturbing schools back in August 2019, attended a virtual motion hearing in a Charleston County court Thursday, hoping to have charges against the man overturned because of a technicality.
They argued that Carolina Park Academy in Mount Pleasant is a daycare and not a traditional school, and so state law regarding threats toward schools could not stand in this case.
Authorities were dispatched to Carolina Park Academy in August 2019 after the Mount Pleasant Police Department received reports of a suspicious person on the property.
An employee told police that he saw Michael Gorlitsky wandering around the school, and when questioned and notified that he was on private property, he told the employee “It’s not like I’m gonna shoot a bunch of kids. I just might.”
When officers arrived, they say Gorlitsky became “irate and uncooperative” when he was questioned about his threatening remarks towards the school.
Gorlitsky was released on bond a few days later and placed on house arrest. Those restrictions, though, were eased after a court appearance in February of last year.
A judge essentially ruled that Gorlitsky could travel anywhere during the daytime except near a church or school.
Gorlitsky is currently under psychiatric care with an ankle monitor.
During Thursday’s hearing, attorney David Aylor argued that the indictment should be vacated because Carolina Park Academy is a daycare and not actually considered a school.
“Carolina Park Academy is a privately owned business,” said Aylor. “Under the code that is in place, not any proposed legislature, provides that the term childcare facilities do not include kindergartens, nursery schools, or daytime programs with or without stated educational programs, operating more than four hours.”
Aylor said state law specifically states “exactly what a school is and it’s mandated that under the Department of Education whereas the daycare is mandated under the Department of Social Services,” he said.
That is why Aylor feels the elements of the indictment against Gorlitsky have not been met and should be tossed out.
Prosecutors say that should not matter and the indictment should stand, urging the judge to deny Aylor’s motion to reconsider. They say the site is a school for pre-kindergarten-aged students rather than a daycare.
No ruling was made during Thursday’s hearing. Judge Bently Price said he will take both sides into consideration and will issue an order later.
State legislators, including Rep. Joe Bustos, are working on legislation that would close the loophole and register places like Carolina Park Academy as an official school site.