Austintown woman pleads guilty to theft
The school employee has no prior criminal record.
YOUNGSTOWN -- For the second time in nine months, Rosemary Hudak of Austintown stood before a judge and pleaded guilty to stealing money from Frank Ohl Middle School.
And her final fate -- either jail or probation -- still remains unresolved.
Hudak, of Collingwood Place, Austintown, entered a guilty plea Wednesday to a charge of theft in office, a fourth-degree felony, which carries a penalty of from six to 18 months in prison.
She appeared before Judge Maureen A. Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Her lawyer, Samuel G. Amendolara, and Robert Andrews, an assistant county prosecutor, reached an agreement to amend an indictment changing the charge from a third- to fourth-degree felony. A third-degree penalty carries prison terms from one to five years.
Andrews said the state recommended a prison term with the possibility of judicial release, formerly known as shock probation, and that Hudak would make restitution of $6,625 to the Austintown school district.
Judge Sweeney explained to Hudak her rights during the brief hearing and asked her if she understood the consequences of her plea. Hudak, who sobbed throughout the hearing, said she did. She has no prior criminal record.
Sentencing was delaying pending an updated presentence report from the Ohio Adult Parole Authority. The APA completed a report in November 2004, but the judge said it should be updated. She continued Hudak's bond.
Janice T. O'Halloran, the school district's lawyer, said she would reserve comment until the sentencing hearing.
Austintown police have estimated Hudak took more than $10,000. They said Hudak, who once worked as the school's treasurer, confessed taking about $50 daily between December 2003 and February 2004. She also is accused of taking some money collected at school athletic events.
Hudak pleaded guilty in October 2004 to a fifth-degree felony count of theft, which was amended from a theft-in-office charge. Theft carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison.
She was scheduled for sentencing in January on that charge before Judge Sweeney.
But at that proceeding, Andrews said the state intended to present to the grand jury a case for an indictment on the original theft-in-office charge after consulting with district officials.
Judge Sweeney granted Amendolara's motion to allow Hudak to withdraw her guilty plea to the theft charge. Another grand jury then re-indicted Hudak on the third-degree felony of theft in office in February.