LISBON Jury finds minister innocent
The former chaplain was accused of contributing to the unruliness of a juvenile.
LISBON -- A jury acquitted a former chaplain at the Columbiana County juvenile detention center who had been accused of criminal activity involving a teen-ager.
Paul Zaperich of Hazel Run road, Salineville, was found innocent Wednesday in county juvenile court of a charge of contributing to the unruliness of a juvenile.
The first-degree misdemeanor bears a maximum six-month jail sentence.
Allegation: Authorities accused Zaperich, his age unavailable, of encouraging a 16-year-old boy to pen a bogus excuse to Southern High School officials.
The excuse enabled the boy to get out of school so he could perform paid yard- and house-work at Zaperich's property in March, said assistant county Prosecutor Sherill Liebschner.
At the time, the boy was on probation through county juvenile court, after having admitted vehicle theft.
Court officials said Zaperich, an ordained minister, resigned from his paid, part-time chaplain's post at the detention center near the time he was charged with the offense in late March. Court officials didn't know Zaperich's religious affiliation.
His trial began Tuesday and continued through part of the day Wednesday before the jury reached its verdict.
Juvenile authorities revoked the boy's probation and placed him in a residential treatment center in Canton, Liebschner said.