CHARDON -- Geauga County Probate Judge Tim Grendell has ordered that money be set aside for the families of the Chardon High School shooting victims pending mediation and, if necessary, a trial later this year.
The families sued the trustees of the Chardon Healing Fund.
Grendell ordered that $50,000 be set aside for the financial assistance of the shooting victims and their families until the case goes to trial in December 2013.
In addition, Grendell ordered $25,000 be set aside for shooting-related community needs and another $25,000 for shooting-related mental health services not otherwise covered until the December trial.
Those set aside funds are to remain frozen in an account until Aug. 1. That will allow time for mediation to settle the case.
The court appointed a retired judge to conduct mediation in the case.
During the mediation process, the court says its prior order requiring court review and approval of any disbursements from the Chardon Healing Fund shall remain in effect.
The fund was established in the wake of the shootings at Chardon High School in Feb. 27, 2012 that left three students dead and three injured.
The fund raised more than $950,000.
The families of the student victims sued, claiming they were being cut off from the funds that were raised.
United Way has responded by saying that the families weren't the only ones allowed to benefit from the fund.
They say the fund financed trauma support and mental health for the overall community, as well as a school security officer.
The following statement was issued by Bill Kitson, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Cleveland:
"When T.J. Lane harmed the students who were injured and killed in Chardon, he harmed many others as well. It has always been the stated intent of the Chardon Healing Fund to help the entire community recover from this terrible and devastating event. We are gratified Judge Grendell recognized our mission by permitting the distribution of funds to both the families of the victims and the larger community. We will abide by Judge Grendell's decision and work with the court and all interested parties to make sure the funds are distributed appropriately."