Charges against Scanland dismissed: Former Children Services director agrees to state’s conditions

LIMA — The state of Ohio has conditionally dismissed its case against Cynthia Scanland, the former head of the Allen County Children Services Agency who lost her job and was charged with tampering with records, obstructing official business and dereliction of duty for her role in a scandal that rocked the government agency in 2020.

The charges against Scanland were closely linked to the cases of Jeremy Kindle and Scott Steffes — former foster parents who had obtained their children through the Children Services agency and who were subsequently convicted of sexually molesting the children.

Steffes and Kindle are currently serving prison terms of 47 and 94 years, respectively, for dozens of sex-related offenses involving foster children and other minors. Scanland is alleged to have altered documents pertaining to the placement of those foster children.

According to the terms of an agreement executed Monday in Allen County Common Pleas Court between Scanland and Special Prosecutor Gwen Howe-Gebers, Scanland agrees not to obtain employment with any Ohio county Children Services office or a job with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services that includes child protection responsibilities for a period of 10 years.

Scanland also agreed not to teach in the area of Ohio child protection services. The state of Ohio as part of the agreement retained the right to refile the dismissed charges if Scanland fails to comply with the conditions for their dismissal. The state also agreed not to oppose a motion to seal the records of the matter if Scanland complies with all terms and conditions.

The agreement was signed by Scanland, Howe-Gerbers, visiting Judge Reeve Kelesy and defense attorneys Kathryn Wallrabenstein and David Thomas.

Scanland, 55, of Arlington, was indicted by a grand jury in September of 2020 on three counts of tampering with records, felonies of the third degree; a fifth-degree felony charge of obstructing official business and a misdemeanor count of dereliction of duty.

She was fired by the Allen County Children Services board of directors on Aug. 21, 2020, after being placed on administrative leave in June after the alleged violations were discovered. The board voted to immediately terminate the former director’s employment. Scanland signed an agreement that provided her with three and one-half months’ severance pay. She was paid an annual salary of $113,063 in 2019.

Program Administrators Brent Bunke and Staci Nichols resigned following the 90-minute closed-door meeting of the Children Services board.

The state had alleged that on three separate occasions between Jan. 1, 2017 and Nov. 30, 2019 Scanland 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 Kindle and/or Steffes and the writing, data, computer software or record was kept by or belonged to a local, state or federal governmental entity.”

The state also maintained that 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” and concealed a report or record kept by the governmental entity.

The obstruction of official business charge alleged the former director prevented or obstructed the performance of a public official in the performance of the public official’s lawful duties and created a risk of physical harm to the children of Kindle and/or Steffes.

The dereliction charge alleged that Scanland did “recklessly fail to perform a duty expressly imposed by law with respect to the public servant’s office.”

Contacted late Monday, Thomas said only that his client “is grateful to have the opportunity to put this incident behind her.”

Howe-Gerbers was unavailable for comment late Monday afternoon.