21 people indicted over child support
The prosecutor said nonsupport is a crime.
By D.A. WILKINSON
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
LISBON -- Columbiana County officials have taken another step toward collecting delinquent child support payments.
Some 21 defendants were scheduled for arraignment Wednesday in county common pleas court on charges of nonsupport.
County Prosecutor Robert Herron said the indictments were a reminder that failure to pay support is a crime.
Herron said each of the defendants owed between $5,000 and $35,000 in support.
"Despite some significant efforts, there was still refusal by the defendants to provide any meaningful support," Herron said.
The indictments were designed to be part of an effort to increase collections locally and statewide, Herron said.
Nonsupport cases are normally presented to the county grand jury at various times throughout the year. Instead, the department presented the cases all at one time.
Eileen Dray-Bardon, director of the county's Department of Job and Family Services, said an effort was made to protect the children involved. No effort was made to get photographic coverage of the arrests, which spared a child from seeing a parent in custody.
The move is the latest in a series of creative local collection efforts.
In 2004, the department ran a list of names of 30 men behind in their support, and payments increased.
So far this year, the department:
UIn February, publicized the names of 47 people who faced active bench warrants for nonpayment. Eighteen people began to pay.
UIn March, sent out letters to 1,200 custodial parents asking for updated information on the delinquent parent.
UIn April, ran an advertisement naming 1,042 people who owed support. Some 208 people began paying, and the department gathered information on hundreds of cases.
Information wasn't available on the actual increase in child support because of the programs.
The department has even placed liens on property owned by two delinquent parents who had not paid.