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Kane woman jailed for theft from pre-school

May 25, 2012

SMETHPORT – A Kane woman will spend a week in the McKean County Jail for stealing money from the Kane Day School while she was serving as the board treasurer.
Ashley Nichole Wilson, 26, of 615 Maple St., Kane, broke down in tears Thursday after McKean County President Judge John Pavlock handed down a sentence that calls for incarceration.
Under the sentence, Wilson will spend between "7 days to one year" in the jail on Route 6 near Smethport.
In a week, she is expected to be released on parole that will last a year. Then she will go on probation for two years, the judge ruled.
Pavlock also ordered the defendant to "complete" 200 hours of community service and undergo mental health and drug and alcohol evaluations. He also directed Wilson to have "no contact" with the Kane Day School.
Wilson last week pleaded guilty in county court to a charge of unlawful taking less than $2,000 from the pre-school program. But, according to testimony Thursday, Wilson has made "full restitution" of $13,377.31. This is the amount listed in the criminal complaint filed Feb. 9 in Kane District Court by Kane Police Chief Brian Hillard, the arresting officer.
In the complaint, Wilson is charged with 84 felony counts, including forgery. She pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful taking last week and the other charges were dismissed.
The Kane Day School for 40 years has operated in rental space at the Tabor Lutheran Church at Greeves and Dawson streets. It is the longest-running pre-school program in Kane.
The school this year served 46 children between the ages of three and five. Connie Heckman and Anastasia Watts are the teachers with separate classes in the mornings and afternoons.
The program ended for the year on Thursday and the teachers, board members and parents traveled to Smethport for the emotional sentencing of the former school treasurer.
Nearly 20 letters have been presented to Pavlock to support the Kane Day School.
Mary Bizzak, president of the board, Linda Hearst, the school registrar, and Tammy Swanson, past board president, all addressed the judge prior to sentencing.
"I never wanted Ashley to go to jail," Hearst told the judge. She said the school simply wants "an apology."
Bizzak, fighting back tears and her emotions, told the judge that Wilson "kept making excuses" when
questioned about the school's declining bank account.
"She needs to be responsible for what she did," Bizzak said.
Swanson told the judge she feels betrayed because Wilson was "one of my best friends."

Pick up a copy of the Friday, May 25, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.

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