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News Briefs for Oct. 11
October 11, 2013 by Cassandra Shofar | No Comments

Ex-Cardinal Secretary Pleads Not Guilty, Munson Man Killed in Motorycycle Crash...

Ex-Cardinal Secretary Pleads Not Guilty to Theft, TamperingA former secretary for Cardinal Schools who is accused of theft and tampering with evidence pleaded not guilty…

Ex-Cardinal Secretary Pleads Not Guilty to Theft, Tampering

A former secretary for Cardinal Schools who is accused of theft and tampering with evidence pleaded not guilty to the charges Friday.

Shannon Mares, 37, of Middlefield, who worked as a secretary at A.J. Jordak Elementary School is Middlefield Village, appeared at her arraignment before Geauga County Common Pleas Court Judge Forrest Burt. She was accompanied by her attorney, Philip Cordova.

Burt accepted a written plea of not guilty from Mares. Her case was assigned to Judge David Fuhry for further proceedings.

Mares, who lives with her husband, two step-children and her son, has no prior criminal record.

“Have you ever been convicted of anything?” Burt asked.

“No,” Mares replied.

The judge released her on a personal recognizance bond, without objection from the State of Ohio.

Mares was indicted last month on charges of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and theft, a fifth-degree felony. The allegations in the indictment concern embezzlement of school fees that occurred in 2012 and in the spring of 2013.

Mares resigned as a school secretary in May, when an investigation was launched regarding the missing funds, Geauga County Prosecutor Jim Flaiz said in a prior press release.

An internal audit identified some funds were unaccounted for, whereupon school officials informed the Middlefield Village Police Department of its findings and requested an audit from Ohio Auditor of State David Yost’s office.

The state audit ultimately revealed $3,429.00 in school funds were missing and the police investigation revealed that receipt books Mares maintained were missing as well, Flaiz previously said.

The tampering with evidence charge is punishable by up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. The theft charge is punishable by up to 12 months in prison and a $2,500 maximum fine.

 Munson Man Killed in Motorcycle Crash

Bryce Riha, 44, of Bass Lake Road in Munson Township, died last Thursday afternoon when the 2003 Honda motorcycle he was driving struck a car in front of Munson Elementary School.

Riha was northbound on Bass Lake Road when a southbound 1998 Ford Crown Victoria driven by Neil J. Conway, 63, of Concord Township, turned left into the school driveway, failing to yield the right-of-way, said Ohio Highway Patrol Sgt. Troy Sexton.

The motorcycle struck the side of Conway’s vehicle and Riha was thrown off of it.

Riha was taken to University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center in Claridon Township where he died from his injuries. He was not wearing a helmet, the trooper said..

Neither excessive speed or alcohol were factors in the accident, Sexton said.

The Chardon post of the Ohio Highway Patrol is investigating the accident. Charges might be filed by the Geauga County Prosecutor’s Office at a later date, Sexton said.

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