Tense hearing between 2 Virginia Beach Catholic school families ends with some charges dismissed, others upheld

VIRGINIA BEACH — A contentious court hearing between two Virginia Beach Catholic school families whose relationship fell apart over child sex abuse allegations ended Monday with some misdemeanor charges filed against one family being dismissed and others upheld.

Monday’s hearing in Virginia Beach General District Court was held after Marin Jakawich filed criminal complaints against former friends Tim and Meredith Hatchell. The two families met several years ago through their children, all of whom attended St. John the Apostle Catholic School in Virginia Beach.

Even the nature of the two families’ relationship was at odds on Monday. While the Hatchells told Judge Sandra Menago they’d been so close that they’d routinely seen each other four to five days a week over the past four years, and presented photos of them on multiple vacations together, Jakawich referred to the Hatchells as “acquaintances.”

Both sides, however, agreed that any bond they’d had came to an abrupt halt in early May. That’s when the Hatchells’ daughter told them she’d been molested by Jakawich’s husband, Vincent, a few years before. The Hatchells immediately contacted police, and also reached out to Marin Jakawich.

Less than 24 hours later, Vincent Jakawich, a Navy pilot, was found dead in his car in Currituck County, North Carolina. Vincent Jakawich’s death was determined to be a suicide, according to a department spokesman.

The next morning, Meredith Hatchell stood outside St. John’s school and handed out flyers to parents as they dropped their kids off. The flyer claimed that Vincent Jakawich was a “pedophile” who’d molested “at least” two female students, and urged parents with daughters who’d spent time at the Jakawich home to question them.

The flyer also provided a link to a previous court case involving Vincent Jakawich in which he’d been charged in 2021 with felony aggravated sexual battery of a child less than 13, but later took a plea deal to a lesser charge of misdemeanor assault and battery.

A similar document was provided to the Jakawichs’ neighbors, and several days later the Hatchells gave interviews to two local television stations about the allegations, as well as their frustrations with school officials for not doing more to protect students.

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Marin Jakawich filed her criminal complaint against the Hatchells hours after the flyers were dispersed. She also alleged that Meredith Hatchell had trespassed at her house and become disruptive. She later accused the couple of violating provisions of a protective order she’d obtained by posting on social media about her family and the allegations.

As a result, Meredith Hatchell was charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct, and both Meredith and Tim Hatchell were charged with harassment by computer and violating a protective order.

“Both of them put my daughters and myself in danger,” Jakawich told the judge Monday as she grew emotional. “I had to leave my home. We have been living out of suitcases.”

People she’d never met before posted vile things on social media, she said, including one who suggested that she and her daughters should “join” her husband in death.

“My daughters and I want peace. That’s all we’ve ever wanted,” she said. “My daughters and I had nothing to do with this. This had to do with my husband.”

The Hatchells testified they put the flyers together to alert other families about what had happened, and to help any that might have been impacted. Meredith Hatchell said she didn’t know about the prior allegations involving Vincent Jakawich until after her daughter came forward.

“Because I did believe there might be other victims, I wanted to raise awareness,” she said. “There have been other (alleged) victims that have come forward since then.”

Marin Jakawich told the judge the allegations against her husband in the first case were determined to be unfounded by Child Protective Services. He also passed a polygraph test and was cleared by the Navy, she said.

Tim Hatchell testified that he and his wife began sending their daughter to a therapist a couple of years ago because she was complaining of migraines and missing a lot of school. She first told her therapist about the allegations on May 8, then informed her parents later that same day, adding that she hadn’t come forward before because she was afraid no one would believe her, he said.

Tim Hatchell told Marin Jakawich he and his wife were angry with her for not letting them know about the prior case, and putting their daughter and others at risk. Marin Jakawich said, however, that she had “no obligation” to tell them, and had followed all court orders placed on her husband, including not being allowed to be around children under 18 who were not related to them while his prior case was pending.

On Monday, Menago dismissed the trespassing and disorderly conduct counts against Meredith Hatchell, saying she didn’t believe the evidence met the requirements of the law. But she did find her guilty of the computer charge.

Menago found Tim Hatchell guilty of the computer charge and violating the protective order. Because neither has a criminal record, the judge agreed to defense attorney James Broccoletti’s request to hold the convictions under advisement until Dec. 30. If no other violations are recorded during that time, the convictions will be dismissed, she said.

Jane Harper, jane.harper@pilotonline.com

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