A former adoption coordinator for Highland County Job and Family Services on Friday waived her right to a grand jury hearing on what appears to be a path to a diversion program which, if completed, would eliminate the theft charge against her.
Ronda McAdams was fired from JFS in July after an allegation that she deliberately falsified records including timesheets, time clock cards, reports, allowance forms, employment application record, purchase orders and receipts, and also allegedly falsified accident reports.
On Friday, she agreed to a bill of information charging her with fifth-degree felony theft. McAdams, who is represented by attorney James Boulger of Chillicothe, will make application to the diversion program in anticipation of entering a guilty plea. Judge Rocky Coss set a plea hearing for Oct. 20.
Prosecutor Anneka Collins and assistant prosecutor Molly Bolek were in the courtroom Friday, and Collins said later that the opportunity to enter the diversion program was typical in similar cases involving first-time offenders.
In court, Coss explained the grand jury process, confirming that McAdams understood her decision to waive the grand jury hearing and agree to the bill of information. The charge states that McAdams is accused of theft in an amount of more than $1,000 but less than $7,500.
According to a statement from JFS in July, McAdams was first placed on suspension without pay and given a notice of intent to discharge from employment after the issue first arose, and then was terminated on July 22.
Evidence against McAdams was turned over to the Highland County Sheriff’s Office for further investigation, according to Katie Adams, director of Highland County JFS.
A statement sent by Adams at the time of McAdams’ dismissal said that “on July 13, 2016, Ronda McAdams, Adoption Coordinator for Highland County JFS was placed on suspension without pay and given notice of Intent to Discharge From Employment.” Adams said that a disciplinary hearing held by an independent hearing office was held on July 15 following the alleged violation.
Adams said that in a letter dated July 22, 2016, the independent hearing officer concluded that “the Group One Offenses that were confirmed through testimonial and documented records would result in termination.”
In July, Adams said that McAdams had been employed with JFS for approximately four years in the same position.
McAdams is free on her own recognizance.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.