OU Employee Accused of Intentionally Setting Fires on Campus
By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9
NORMAN, Oklahoma -- A University of Oklahoma employee has been charged with intentionally setting fires in a building on the Norman campus.
Earlier in the fall semester, three fires were deliberately set in the Chemistry Building. The fires were quickly extinguished and no one was injured.
The OU fire marshal began investigating. Three arson charges filed this week have accused chemistry department staff member Susan Lauterbach being involved in the fires.
Lauterbach is listed on the OU Chemistry Department's Web site as the person responsible for facility safety.
According to court documents, she felt unappreciated, under compensated and felt her authority had been downgraded.
In an e-mail on her computer she wrote, "If the building burns, it's not my problem."
She is accused of setting a fire inside a closet in room 326 of the chemistry annex building in September. The fire did $13,000 worth of damage.
"If it had taken off, would have had some fire load, some fuel load and could have been a real problem," said Cleveland County Assistant District Attorney Rick Sitzman.
She’s also accused of setting two more fires.
Lauterbach is on leave from her position at OU, but her attorney said he is confident that she had nothing to do with the fires and believes the case against her is just based on innuendo.
Lauterbach did not want to comment on the charges.
First degree arson is punishable by up to 35 years in prison.