Allen County Children Services puts three on leave


Investigation connected to man’s unlawful sexual conduct case

By David Trinko - dtrinko@limanews.com



Scanland

Scanland


Bunke

Bunke


Nichols


Top left, Scanland and Bunke; bottom, Nichols.


LIMA — Allen County Children Services placed its executive director and two program administrators on leave Thursday as an investigation continues on an Elida man’s case of alleged unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

Allen County Children Services Executive Director Cynthia Scanland and Program Administrators Brent Bunke and Staci Nichols were placed on paid administrative leave Thursday while the children services board “reviews matters relating to internal policies and procedures,” according to a statement from board chair Dr. Jennifer Hughes.

The unlawful sexual conduct case involves Jeremy Kindle, 35, of Elida. In July 2018, Kindle and his partner, Scott Steffes, were foster parents and adopted three boys, ages 3 through 8, through children services, according to a Lima News story. Kindle and Steffes already had legal custody of three boys between the age of 14 and 17 at the time.

Authorities have not identified the possible victim in this case, and The Lima News doesn’t identify rape victims in coverage unless they specifically ask to be identified.

When officers from the Lima Police Department tried to arrest Kindle on May 23, Kindle allegedly assaulted an officer, went inside to get a cordless circular saw and cut his own throat. He was taken to Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center then flown to OSU Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. His criminal case was bound over from Lima Municipal Court to the Allen County grand jury Monday.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation visited children services on May 27 and 28 to interview employees and gather materials in a larger investigation involving Kindle, according to the press release from Hughes. Hughes said the staff cooperated fully.

“We know the public will want to know more immediately, but the most professional response is to allow BCI time to investigate, and the board the necessary time to review internal policies and procedures,” Hughes wrote in her statement.

Steffes, 39, faces a felonious assault charge. His case was also bound over from municipal court to the grand jury.

At the time of the adoption, Kindle credited faith for his and Steffes’ interest in foster care and adoption.

“We’re very blessed,” Kindle said during the 2018 interview. “We firmly believe that God put these kids in our home, and it’s an honor and a privilege to be able to adopt them today.”

Hughes said the children services board will review its internal policies and take action when necessary.

“We have no timeline as to when further information will be available, but the Allen County Children Services Board will remain ready to receive and act upon any report that is provided,” Hughes wrote.

___

Read the full statement from Dr. Jennifer Hughes, the chair of the Allen County Children Services Board:

On May 27-28, officials from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) visited Allen County Children Services (ACCS) to interview employees and gather materials as part of a larger investigation involving Jeremy Kindle. The staff cooperated fully, and the agency is committed to working with law enforcement in an open and transparent way.

In addition to that external investigation, the board met today and placed Executive Director Cynthia Scanland, and Program Administrators Brent Bunke and Staci Nichols on paid administrative leave beginning immediately while it reviews matters relating to internal policies and procedures.

We have no timeline as to when further information will be available but the Allen County Children Services Board will remain ready to receive and act upon any report that is provided. We know the public will want to know more immediately but the most professional response is to allow BCI time to investigate, and the board the necessary time to review internal policies and procedures. We will provide more information as soon as we can.

The investigation will not impact our services to the Allen County community. We are committed to meeting the needs of families and to ensure the safety of our community’s most vulnerable children.

Scanland
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/06/web1_applause_Executive-Director-Cynthia-Scanland-3.jpgScanland
Bunke
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/06/web1_Bunke-Brent-3.jpgBunke
Nichols
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/06/web1_Nichols-Staci-3.jpgNichols
Top left, Scanland and Bunke; bottom, Nichols.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/06/web1_Combined-3.jpgTop left, Scanland and Bunke; bottom, Nichols.
Investigation connected to man’s unlawful sexual conduct case

By David Trinko

dtrinko@limanews.com

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