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Township Trustee Removed From Office After Pleading Guilty To Theft And Misconduct

Last updated on Friday, November 1, 2013

(MARTINSVILLE) - Ashland Township Trustee Sandra Norman was removed from office Wednesday after pleading guilty to charges of theft and misconduct.

She was accused of stealing taxpayer money during her time as trustee.

Morgan County Superior Court I Judge G. Thomas Gray removed Norman from her position after she changed her plea.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Norman withdrew more than $270,000 by writing checks to herself, friends and her boyfriend.

When Indiana State Police detective Amy Johnson met with Norman at a truck stop, Norman became emotional, according to the report.

"Ms. Norman stated she even used some of the unauthorized checks on her and for family vacations, the kids' school activities, etc," according to the affidavit. "Ms. Norman stated she has nothing to show for the money she took, it just went to people she wanted to help and because of that she was taken advantage of by friends and family. Ms. Norman stated she wants to pay the money back, even if she has to work three or four jobs."

Under Indiana law, a public official who fails to keep financial books can be removed from office. But because she pleaded not guilty in June officials had to wait to remove her from office.

Norman's case is the first time in Indiana history that a county prosecutor has taken such action against a public official.

The State Board of Accounts audit recently requested Norman repay $7,860.23 to the taxpayers for purchases made without supporting documentation, including hotel stays, mileage, conferences, utilities, repair work and other expenses.

Morgan County Republican Chairman Daniel Elliott says the party will hold a caucus to select a new Ashland Township trustee.

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