Ex-dean of students at NH school has cash bail set after 2 missed court appearances
CONCORD — A former dean of students at Pembroke Academy is being held on $40,000 cash bail after she failed to appear in court on two previous dates.
Rekha Luther, 37, of Manchester was arrested on a warrant on July 13 for failing to appear at a pretrial hearing and jury selection.
Luther was originally arrested in February 2016 after police conducted a search of the school and said that they found steroid testosterone propionate in her car and fentanyl in her unlocked office.
On Tuesday, Luther was joined in court by her mother, father, sister and a representative from the local NAACP in her support.
Tuesday's hearing was a bail hearing where Luther and her attorney were asked by the judge to clarify why she had missed the previous two court appearances.
Her attorney explained that she missed the pretrial hearing after a letter from the public defender's office sent to her last known address was never received, and she claims she was never informed.
The explanation for Luther's absence from jury selection at the time of the selection was that she was out of the country in England receiving drug rehabilitation treatment. During her bail hearing on Tuesday, it was revealed that she never left the country, and the statement from her saying that she had was false.
Having not appeared twice, and knowing that she had lied to the court previously, the state prosecutor asked that the judge not provide bail.
Luther's attorney called her father to the witness stand to testify under oath for her bail and treatment.
While on the stand, Luther's father explained part of the confusion around her being in England. He told the court that Luther had done extensive research on an opioid treatment that has not been approved for use in the U.S. and planned on traveling overseas during her trial period for that treatment.
The treatment uses a substance called Ibogaine.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine Ibogaine has been claimed to work as a treatment for opioid addiction. In testing the substance on rats, it was found that brain cells that were in charge of motor functions began to degrade. Due to a number of deaths that have been attributed to it, the serious side effects, and its hallucinogenic properties, it is listed in the U.S. National Library of Medicine Hazardous substance database.
Luther did not end up traveling for treatment because she couldn't afford it. Her father said that she had entered into a local treatment center's program instead.
Her father held back tears while pleading to the court to make sure that she received treatment. Luther was also in tears while listening to her father.
Judge Richard McNamara said he had concern over her lie to the court and set bail at $40,000 cash only.
If Luther is accepted into inpatient treatment program the bail will change to $10,000 Personal recognizance. In that case, she also would be required to wear an ankle bracelet. If she left treatment before it is completed, bail would be revoked and she would be arrested.