Ex-Miami County Children’s Services director sentenced

The fired director of Miami County Children’s Services was sentenced Wednesday to five years community control for theft in office and tampering with records by a judge who said the amount stolen was not large, but the acts violated the public trust.

June Cannon, 55, of Beavercreek pleaded guilty to five counts each of theft in office and tampering with records in July as part of a plea deal in county Common Pleas Court. The deal included prosecutors agreeing not to pursue five more counts of each charge and Cannon agreeing to pay $266.70 restitution.

Visiting Judge David Faulkner sentenced Cannon to community control, 300 hours of public service, fines totaling $1,500 and court costs. She will be permanently disqualified from holding a public office.

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Cheryl Buecker of Piqua, a long-time Children’s Services board member helped hire Cannon more than 20 years ago. “We totally trusted her …This was totally June’s responsibility,” Buecker told Faulkner.

Defense lawyer Andrew Pratt said Cannon paid restitution, had no criminal record, has received therapy for depression and anxiety and has a new job at Kohl’s. “This was not a profiteering enterprise,” he said.

Cannon said she took full responsibility and has taken steps to ensure she won’t reoffend. “I want to say how sorry I am. I made a terrible mistake … It is not who I am,” Cannon said.

Janna Parker, assistant county prosecutor, said the state recommended community control. “She was the face of children’s services,” Parker said, adding Cannon’s explanations for the behavior from when she was confronted to the day in court were “confusing.”

An investigation into allegations of public corruption at the agency was announced in March. Days later, Cannon was fired by the Children’s Services Board.

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A search warrant said Children’s Services Board members triggered the investigation with a complaint about “questionable requests for reimbursement” and purchases by Cannon. A GPS device was placed on Cannon’s personal vehicle by investigators.

Sheriff’s Detective Lt. Jason Moore said in an affidavit there were discrepancies between dates and times on Cannon’s mileage logs and door swipe activity of Cannon’s access card at the agency office at the Hobart Center for County Government in Troy.

Requests for reimbursement by Cannon for purchases made for families/clients of Children’s Services also were questioned.

Investigators emphasized the charges Cannon were a “snapshot in time” from early this year, not a longer period. The restitution amount was based on one month’s claimed reimbursement from early this year, according to the investigation report.

Moore reported Cannon initially told him one story, then changed it when he told her there was a GPS on her vehicle and he had been following her for some time. She then said the reimbursement claims submitted may have been for money she spent on the agency but did not receive reimbursement from the county.

“She went on to explain that she felt that she does so much for the agency and her employees that she felt it all evened out,” Moore wrote.

Faulkner said the amount involved in the charges was not great. “But, that is not necessarily the point. It is the nature of the offense … (Cannon) had a position of trust,” he said.

After the investigation, the county commissioners sought more oversight for the agency, which was overseen by a five-member citizens board. A merger with the county Job and Family Services Department was finalized in July.

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