OTTAWA — A judge has granted Putnam County Sheriff Jim Beutler a divorce from his wife, Kathy Beutler, who is serving a three-year prison sentence for aggravated theft.
Judge Denise McColley, of Henry County, granted the divorce last week, according to Putnam County court records. Jim Beutler filed for divorce in November, citing “incompatible” as grounds for the divorce. The couple married in September 1991, according to court records.
“As in any domestic relationship, these are life-altering and very difficult decisions to make,” Jim Beutler said. “I have to protect our family and only to say that as separation occurs, relations change and are private matters as many people often experience in life.”
Kathy Beutler pleaded guilty in 2010 to aggravated theft related to the embezzlement of $261,159 from the Ohio Farmers Union, where she served as treasurer. The embezzlement took place over the course of four years. Beutler admitted to taking the money in 86 transactions from the union from 2005 through 2009.
During court proceedings in the case, Kathy Beutler said massive credit card debt prompted her decision to steal from her employer. Officials repeatedly said there was no evidence the sheriff did anything wrong. Kathy Beutler said she handled the household’s finances and that her husband was not aware of what she was doing.
The Ohio Farmers Union filed a civil lawsuit later in 2010 seeking more than $1.2 million in damages from Kathy Beutler, Jim Beutler, Roger Crossgrove, the union’s former executive director, and Lima accounting firm Lentol, Violet, Kienitz and Co. According to court records, all of the defendants except Kathy Beutler have been dismissed from the case.
Kathy Beutler continues to serve her sentence at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville. She has been denied an early release from prison five times. A sixth request for early release was filed in June and remains pending, according to court records.