A woman who embezzled $29,000 from Bethel Presbyterian Church pleaded guilty today in Augusta County Circuit Court to five counts of embezzlement.
Denise Y. Thornton, 45, is the former assistant director of the church’s preschool program and later became the treasurer of the preschool program.
Thornton’s husband, Rev. Joel Thornton, was with the church for about eight years before resigning in January 2012. There is no indication that he had knowledge of his wife’s alleged scheme, according to authorities or court records.
In a plea deal, Denise Thornton was given 10 years in prison with all but 30 days suspended. She will serve her 30 days behind bars in a series of weekend stints at the Middle River Regional Jail in Verona.
In the plea deal, nine counts of embezzlement were not prosecuted