On November 13th, the Ohio Second District Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal of former Bellbrook-Sugarcreek school board member Virginia Slouffman regarding her conviction for dereliction of duty in connection with a school levy campaign.
The court upheld the ruling, stating that there was sufficient evidence to support the claim that Slouffman acted recklessly with regard to the use of Board of Education funds for the 2019 school levy. Along with former school board President David Carpenter, Slouffman was found guilty of dereliction of duty, though both were acquitted of illegal transaction of public funds after a trial in Xenia Municipal Court.
According to Samuel J. Kirk of the Ohio Auditor’s office, the prosecution had to prove that the defendants acted knowingly for the illegal use of funds charge, while a lesser showing of reckless behavior was required for the dereliction count.
In her appeal, Slouffman argued that her conviction was based on insufficient evidence, particularly in relation to her involvement in the creation of a school board postcard. However, court records showed that she received texts and emails about the postcard’s details but did not respond. It was also revealed that she did not express any concern about Carpenter’s suggestions for the postcards’ content and approved of its written content.
The court also noted that Slouffman’s complaints about the postcards only surfaced after she received them, particularly regarding the use of her name and the photograph included. Both Carpenter and Slouffman were ordered to pay $502 in restitution to the school district, in addition to court costs.