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JACKSON TWP. Lawyer files contempt motion



Published: Mon, September 2, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Jackson Township Police chief said a township insurance company will foot the bill.

By JoANNE VIVIANO

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

NORTH JACKSON -- When a Mahoning County judge ordered the Jackson Township Police Department to turn $1,500 over to an Austintown woman convicted of trespassing and petty theft, the money wasn't there.

Police had already given the cash to her ex-boyfriend. MaryLynn Kotis, 36, had confessed stealing money from his house.

But she was convicted of the theft of only about $800. She had given police about $2,300, believing that she would not be charged criminally if she reimbursed the man, police reports show.

Now, authorities said, the money is gone. The township must still reimburse her.

Kotis' attorney, Rocklyn Deperro-Turner, has filed a motion to hold Chief Orrin Hill in contempt for failing to pay up.

Hill said the money is coming. A township insurance company is footing the bill and will pay within 45 days, he said.

Kotis, of Idaho Road,pleaded guilty in county court in Austintown in June to trespassing and petty theft, court documents show. Judge David A. D'Apolito sentenced her to serve five days of a 90-day jail sentence and one year's probation and to pay $200 fines.

Of the money she had turned over to police, Judge D'Apolito ordered that $833 be given to the ex-boyfriend and the rest to Kotis.

Money reported stolen

The woman's ex-boyfriend reported that money had been stolen from his unlocked Silica Road home April 15. Kotis admitted that she stole a jar of coins from a dresser and a can of coins from a closet to make him angry. She said she had the money counted at a grocery store and received just more than $800. She turned $802 to the police April 17.

She gave about $1,500 more April 21.

Assistant County Prosecutor Ken Cardinal said he questions why the additional money was solicited, and who solicited it.

He asked the sheriff's department to investigate the matter.

Kotis said she gave police the additional $1,500 after the ex-boyfriend reported that more money had been stolen. She said the patrol officer told her she would not be charged criminally if she paid the additional money.

Another witness, who knows both Kotis and the ex-boyfriend, told deputy sheriffs that the patrol officer did not coerce Kotis into paying the money -- but advised her not to pay the additional money, or confess stealing it, if she had not stolen it.

Cardinal also asked why the money, which would have been used as evidence if the case went to trial, was given up before the case was closed.

Hill said the error was made because the police department thought the case was over when they gave the money to the ex-boyfriend. He said they had tried to help both sides in a "sad case" involving family problems.




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