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Ex-YSU professor facing cruelty charges

BOARDMAN — A friend of the former Youngstown State University professor charged with mutilating her cat told police the professor indicated she was “going through some type of psychotic episode” in November, according to a police report.

The professor, Amy E. Williams, 39, of Boardman Canfield Road, Boardman, was indicted last week on two counts of cruelty to a companion animal.

One of the charges is a felony punishable by up to a year in prison. The other charge is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail.

The friend told Boardman police she called Williams on Nov. 22 after YSU staff contacted her around 7:30 p.m. because Williams did not show up to teach her class. The police report states the friend told police when she called Williams, she said she was “not OK and that she was going through some type of psychotic episode.”

At Williams’ apartment, the friend told police it appeared someone had thrown items all over the apartment, smashed pictures that had been on the walls and “left the apartment in total disarray.”

The friend found one of Williams’ two cats deceased in the refrigerator, the report states. She could not find the other cat.

The friend called Williams, who told her friend she was at the Walmart in Boardman and was “having a bad day,” the report states. The friend went to Walmart, but did not find Williams. Boardman officers also responded to the store and found her vehicle and then Williams.

She was pushing a cart full of items near the front of the store. When police approached her, she yelled at officers, and was detained in handcuffs, the report states. Police asked her if she harmed her cat, but she did not answer. She expressed fear that officers were “going to kill her,” the report states. Another officer later asked her about her cat, and Williams said, “I think I hurt it,” the report states.

Williams was taken to the hospital for a mental health evaluation. The report states police believed Williams was in a “paranoid state” and added that Williams “admitted to not taking her medications.”

Ron Cole, YSU spokesman, could not be reached Monday, but he said Williams resigned late last month, according to published reports.

According to an online American Counseling Association biography, Williams was an assistant professor in the YSU Department of Counseling, Special Education and School Psychology. She holds a master’s degree in community and addiction counseling and a doctorate degree in counselor education, the biography states.

Her research focuses on substance abuse disorders and their treatment, as well as substance abuse disorder family systems and counselor training and supervision. A page on the YSU web site states Williams was an assistant professor in psychological sciences and counseling.

The police department assisted Animal Charity of Ohio, which is Mahoning County’s humane society, serve a search warrant the next day at Williams’ apartment, where the cat was found mutilated and deceased. The mutilation caused the cat’s death, according to a post on the Animal Charity Facebook page.

The second cat was recovered and is doing well, said Animal Charity coordinator Jane MacMurchy.

A civil hearing was held Dec. 7 in Mahoning County Area Court in Boardman after a civil complaint was filed against Williams.

Williams is likely to be arraigned in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court in the coming weeks.

A second woman also was indicted on two counts of cruelty to companion animals.

Marian Thomas, 54, of Mistletoe Avenue, Youngstown, was charged after an investigation at her home Nov. 24 during which an emaciated dog and a deceased dog were found, MacMurchy said.

The deceased dog was “starved to death,” MacMurchy said. As with Williams, one of the charges is a felony. Thomas is also indicted on a misdemeanor not punishable with prison time.

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