(01/13/2001)
By Bob Weaver

Judy Hartshorn, the former Director of the Calhoun County Committee on Aging, will not be prosecuted although she "took full advantage of the very people she was entrusted to help," according to Sgt. John Bonazzo of the West Virginia State Police.

Bonazzo said his agency has concluded an investigation on behalf of the local senior citizen's agency. "The FBI was contacted and has concurred with the results of this investigation," he said. The investigation revealed extensive internal mismanagement by Hartshorn as well as oversight problems with the Board.

He said much of the mismanagement by Hartshorn "could easily be construed as criminal, but failed to reach the high standards required by the criminal justice system for a successful prosecution. This largely can be attributed to the fact that much of the Director's actions were done with the tacit approval or oversight of the Board of Directors."

Mike Ritchie, the new Director of CCCOA, said his Board had left it up to the authorities whether to proceed with charges against Hartshorn. "We are now about the future of the center," he said. "We are working hard at doing the right things for this community."

The State Police report concluded there was an accountability problem. Many of the problems uncovered could have been prevented had the Board of Directors at the time exercised more control over daily operations, including those of the former Director.

Hathshorn resigned her position in April, 1999, the subject of allegations of stealing or misuse of center funds. She first offered to step down to a lesser position, then tendered her resignation to the 12 member board.

Bonazzo said another main factor prohibiting successful prosecution is the statue of limitations have expired on many of the uncovered discrepancies. He said "Many of the former director's actions were not uncovered until recently when the criminal investigation was initiated, which is some cases was two or three years after the fact."

Hathshorn had been accused of using materials purchased for a new addition to the Grantsville's center in the construction of her new home on Pleasant Hill, among other abuses of the agencies equipment and funds.


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