(BEDFORD) - 40-year-old April Eagan Dorsett, the former Shawswick Township Trustee Clerk, was sentenced to two years behind bars by Lawrence County Superior Court Judge Michael Robbins. (Times Mail)
Dorsett worked in the office for her mother-in-law, Peggy Dorsett, who was the elected Shawswick Township trustee.
She accepted a plea agreement after admitting to stealing $157,413 from the office. Robbins only had to decide if Dorsett would spend her two years behind bars or on home arrest. He chose jail. In the terms of the plea agreement Dorsett agreed to an eight-year sentence with six years suspended for her guilty plea to theft, a Class C felony.
Robbins, shocked and appalled that the governmental system failed so grossly, says Dorsett needed to be held to a higher standard because she had been entrusted with taxpayer money. With good behavior and other credits, she could be released in less than a year.
Robbins says the system failed. Not just on the level of the defendant, but on the level of the trustee, the trustee board and the state board of accounts.
In addition to the serving the sentence in prison, Robbins ordered Dorsett to do community road crew service when she's release from jail. She will also pay the money back to the county.
Her attorney John Haury argued that putting Dorset in jail would delay the repayment of the money, costing taxpayers even more money. He also told the judge it would put undue hardship on her husband Randy and their three children ages 19, 14 and 12.
During sentencing, Dorsett apologized for what she did, saying she didn't know if she would ever be able to forgive herself.
While the money Dorsett took didn't come from the office's poor relief fund, Robbins called it hypocritical that she could judge whether or not somebody qualified for poor relief while she was stealing money from the office.
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