Retired Grant County parole officer charged with theft
Updated On: Jul 25 2013 08:18:03 AM CDT
A retired Grant County parole officer is accused of stealing money from more than a dozen people she supervised.
A criminal complaint alleges Sherry Buswell took more than $4,000 and deposited it into her personal bank account.
Buswell was assigned to the Probation and Parole unit in Lancaster for 16 years. She retired in January of 2013, but about nine months earlier, she was put on administrative leave.
The complaint said from June 8, 2011 to June 20, 2012, Buswell “intentionally did an act which the employee knew is in excess of the employee’s lawful authority.”
Buswell faces 67 theft and misconduct charges, 21 of them are felonies. There are 21 victims named in the investigation that started when a co-worker became concerned when reviewing Buswell’s cases. The co-worker reported that there appeared to be “numerous inconsistencies." Buswell was placed on leave and her caseload was distributed to other agents.
Offenders then started to question the amount of supervision fees they still owed. They used money orders, made out to the Department of Corrections, to pay off the fees. In the complaint, the amount of money orders range from $30 to $300.
The Lancaster Police Department is in charge of the case, but officers never arrested Buswell. She was summoned to a Grant County courtroom Monday. But given a conflict of interest, the judge may recuse himself.
A special Richland County prosecutor has already been assigned to the case. Richland County District Attorney Jennifer Harper said her office went back three years, but didn’t find any more “inconsistencies” in Buswell’s cases.
Harper couldn’t speculate on a motive.
In reference to guilt, one victim said Buswell is, “carrying a lot of weight” and acknowledged everyone makes mistakes. He said Buswell was his parole officer for a year.
Buswell, the DA Harper and Lancaster Police Chief Steve Zabel declined our interview requests. But News3 spoke to Buswell outside her home and she said, “All I can say is, I’m sorry.”
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