By Wayne Allen
Former Northwest Local Schools union official Jacqueline Murphy was sentenced last week to three years community control by Scioto County Common Pleas Judge Howard Harcha.
Murphy was indicted for theft in October of 2013. Scioto County Assistant Prosecutor Pat Apel, said Murphy, “pled on Aug. 14 to felony of the fourth degree, theft.” Apel said with this plea community control is mandatory.
“She was sentenced to three years community control, and as I understand it she payed restitution of $1,753.54 to the Northwest Teachers Union (Northwest Local Education Association),” Apel said.
Apel said she also payed the court costs.
“She was also notified that if she violates the sentence, the judge told her he would sentence her to 17 months (in jail),” Apel said.
When Murphy was indicted, the indictment read, in part - “The jurors of the grand jury of the state of Ohio, within and for the body of the county aforesaid (Scioto), on their oaths, in the name and by the authority of the state of Ohio, do find and present that on or about and between the first day of September, 2010, and the 30th day of December, 2012, at Scioto County, Ohio, Jacqueline M. Murphy did with purpose to deprive the owner, (listed wrongly as Northwest School. Should read “Northwest Local Education Association”) of property, knowingly obtain or exert control over the property beyond the scope of the express or implied consent, the value of the property being $7,500 or more and less than $150,000.”
At the time of the indictment Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said the actual amount is between $10,000 and $15,000. It goes on to say - “Murphy did knowing that an investigation was in progress, or is about to be or likely to be instituted, did alter, destroy, conceal, or remove any record, document, or thing, with purpose to impair its availability as evidence in such proceedings or investigation.”
At the time of the indictment Ohio Education Association (OEA), the statewide teachers’ union noticed untimely payments of union dues made by the Northwest Local Education Association (NLEA) in December of 2012. After speaking with the local chapter, an investigation was started which discovered a possible misappropriation of funds.
“The local (union) closed that bank account and they opened a new one according to our recommendations, so the Local could continue to conduct business without the threat of loss of additional funds,” Ohio Education Association Spokesperson Michele Prater, said. “That information was turned over to an independent auditor, and in September of 2013, the results of the audit were shared with OEA and the Northwest Local Executive Committee. The audit determined that Jackie Murphy, who was a former officer, misappropriated the funds.”
At that point, she said the case was turned over to law enforcement.
“The Northwest Local Education Association and the Ohio Education Association have a zero tolerance policy related to individuals who engage in the misappropriation of members’ funds. Law enforcement officials have investigated the misappropriation of funds from the NLEA. NLEA with the assistance of OEA are cooperating with law enforcement officials,” Prater said.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT