Trish Bennett, Editor
CIRCLEVILLE – The former director of the Pickaway County Veterans Service Office pleaded not guilty to theft in office and other charges Wednesday in Pickaway County Common Pleas Court.
Rebecca J. Lee, 52, appeared with her attorney, Deborah Barrington, to be arraigned on seven charges contained in an indictment issued June 3 by the Pickaway County Grand Jury through the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
Lee signed a personal recognizance bond after entering her plea, and the case is set for a pretrial hearing July 8.
Lee faces two counts of theft in office, both third-degree felonies; one count of theft in office, a fourth-degree felony; one count of grand theft, a fourth-degree felony; one count of theft, a fifth-degree felony; one count of unauthorized use of property, a fourth-degree misdemeanor; and unauthorized use of computer, cable or telecommunications property, a fifth-degree felony.
Five of the seven counts contained in the indictment stem from allegations of misconduct in office, including theft of money and computer services and unauthorized use of a credit card owned by the Pickaway County Veterans Service Commission. Lee was placed on paid administrative leave Nov. 20, 2014, pending an investigation and was terminated from her position as executive director of the VSO on Dec. 18, 2014.
The remaining two counts of grand theft and theft in office allege that Lee, in her capacity as a public official, took possession of an historic Nazi flag that had been donated to the Veterans Service Commission several years ago by local World War II veteran Snap Ankrom.
The flag is valued between $5,000 and $100,000 in the court documents and has not yet been recovered.
The Grand Jury indictment was filed by Christopher L. Kinsler, appointed special prosecutor for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, who is expected to handle prosecution of the case.
The charges follow an investigation spanning more than a year by the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio Auditor of State’s Office and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal