Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Former parent-teacher organization treasurer sentenced for 'rather stunning' embezzlement

 A former parent-teacher council treasurer wept as she told a judge how sorry she was for wiping out the annual budget of the organization in a year-long embezzlement scheme.

But for the members of the Cannonsburg Elementary School support group, the tears and remorse are too little, too late and all they want from Shannon Marie Rosales is their $21,000 back.

Rosales, 35, told Kent County Circuit Court Judge Donald Johnston that she let her personal financial issues get in the way of her better judgement.

"I feel like I am a good person who has made a huge mistake," Rosales said as she wept in the courtroom on Tuesday, Feb. 3. "I am truly sorry."

Rosales said she has gotten a second job with the intention of paying back the money she admitted to taking between November 2013 and October 2014. She said she had $1,000 she was going to pay to the court the same day she is sentenced.

Rosales pleaded guilty to attempted embezzlement.

Members of the parent-teacher group said the money would be the first dime of they have received and the first statement of remorse from the woman who still shows her face at the school which her child attends.

"We are faced with starting over," said PTC president Jessie Challa, who spoke during the hearing. "Our entire annual budget was taken by someone we thought we could

Challa said the loss of funds meant that the organization had to cancel field trip transportation, cancel assemblies, forego technology improvements and curtail activities for the students of the smallest of Rockford's elementary schools.

The money was taken in varying amounts often using an ATM to get cash which PTC members say was spent on frivolous pursuits.

Challa told the judge that while the members of the PTC had varying opinions about jail time, they agreed that the most important thing is getting the money paid back.

Johnston said that while the crime committed by Rosales was "rather stunning" and tantamount to stealing from the church poor-box, three months in jail as called for by the state sentencing guideline would not make a lot of sense.

"While locking you up would make us feel better by seeing you walk out with the sheriff, it would not serve our goal," Johnston said.

Johnston placed Rosales on five years of probation and ordered her to pay back the money with timely installments or face 45 days in jail.

After the hearing, members of the PTC were not exactly happy, but satisfied that there is a mechanism in place to get them their money back, even though that money will not be there in time to benefit the students who worked so hard to raise it and are now
suffering because of the broken trust of an adult who was supposed to be looking out for them.

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