OTTAWA — Kyle Unverferth’s attorney, Robert Grzybowski, field a motion for treatment in lieu of conviction in his theft in office case.
Unverferth was the Union Township Fiscal Officer when he was charged with theft, tampering with records and falsification in a theft offense by a Putnam County Grand Jury in January. Unverferth allegedly stole a Dell laptop and computer tower belonging to the Union Township Trustees.
“Basically this is what used to be known under the law as treatment in lieu of conviction, which applied to somebody under the influence of drugs, alcohol, gambling or some sort of addiction,” said Robert Smith, assistant chief legal counsel for the Ohio Auditor’s Office. “It was a request that they plead guilty but then after a passage of time and after they’ve gone through their treatment, the case be dismissed without an actual conviction being found against them. It involves cases in which the person can prove that whatever their situation was is what caused them to commit the crime.”
The problem with the treatment in lieu of conviction motion in this case is it interferes with legislation, Smith said. There is legislation in place that says if someone is convicted, pleads guilty to, theft in office, they are barred from serving in public office again, he said. If Unverferth was granted the motion, it would allow him to seek employment in public office again after his treatment was completed, Smith said.
Unverferth’s treatment would be for depression, Smith said, and not an addiction.
Putnam County Common Pleas Judge Keith Schierloh ordered Unverferth to seek treatment at Pathways Counseling Center in Ottawa or at another comparable facility. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sept. 13 and will be a hearing to determine the validity of the treatment in lieu of conviction motion, Smith said.
Grzybowski did not return a message for comment Tuesday.
Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362.