LIMA — Cynthia Scanland, fired last month by the Allen County Children’s Services board, has been indicted by a grand jury on four felony counts and one misdemeanor charge related to her employment as the county agency’s executive director.
Scanland, 53, of Arlington, was indicted by the grand jury on three counts of tampering with records, all felonies of the third degree; a fifth-degree felony charge of obstructing official business and a misdemeanor count of dereliction of duty.
She is scheduled to make her initial court appearance at 2 p.m. on Sept. 29, before Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed.
The Allen County Children’s Services board of directors on Aug. 21 voted to terminate the employment of Scanland, effective immediately. Scanland signed an agreement that provides her with 3½ months of severance pay.
The board also accepted the resignations of Program Administrators Brent Bunke and Staci Nichols at the same time.
The employees reportedly were the targets of an investigation in the case of Jeremy Kindle and Scott Steffes. In July 2018, Kindle and Steffes, his partner, were foster parents and adopted three boys, ages 3 through 8, through Children Services. Kindle and Steffes already had legal custody of three boys between the age of 14 and 17 at the time.
An Allen County grand jury in July handed down a combined 127 felony charges against the two men — including counts of rape, sexual contact with a minor and sexual battery. Steffes, 38, and Kindle, 35, were charged with 62 and 65 felony counts, respectively. The charges were based on a series of alleged incidents that led the three Children’s Service employees to be placed on administrative leave.
The external investigation “found reason to believe that agency staff failed to follow established protocol by not reporting allegations made about Kindle and Steffes on two occasions prior to their arrests in May. The investigation found no evidence that any employee thought that sexual abuse was occurring and covered it up. Rather, it appears that close relations between the foster parents and the agency clouded these employees’ perceptions,” according to a statement released Aug.21 by the Children’s Services board.
Henry County Prosecutor Gwen Howe-Gebers was assigned to try the case because of potential conflicts of interest within the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office.
According to the indictment against Scanland returned by the grand jurors, the state alleges that on three separate occasions the former director did ”with the purpose to defraud or knowing she was facilitating a fraud on Allen County Job & Family Services, falsify, destroy, remove, conceal, alter, deface or mutilate any writing, computer software, data or record, to wit: Records kept concerning the training hours of foster parents Jeremy Kindle and/or Scott Steffes and the writing, data, computer software or record was kept by or belonged to a local, state or federal governmental entity.”
Those acts are alleged to have taken place between Jan. 1, 2017, and Nov. 30, 2019.
A second count of tampering alleges that on Oct. 8, 2019, Scanland “altered status documentation concerning intake and the writing, data, computer software or record was kept by or belonged to a local, state or federal governmental entity.”
The third tampering count alleges that on or about June 20, 2019, Scanland “did conceal a report of documentation and the writing or record kept by a governmental entity.”
The obstruction of official business charge alleges that Scanland from Jan. 1, 2019, through Nov. 30, 2019, did “prevent, obstruct or delay the performance by a public official of any authorized act within the public officials capacity — an act that hampered or impeded a public official in the performance of the public officials lawful duties. Furthermore the offense created a risk of physical harm to the children of Kindle and/or Steffes,” the indictment alleges.
The dereliction charge states that Scanland did “recklessly fail to perform a duty expressly imposed by law with respect to the public servant’s office.”