Charges consolidated against Tidioute woman, 16 remain

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Bethany Kelley

Hundreds of charges have been withdrawn in the case of a Tidioute woman accused of stealing from Warren County Christian School.

Bethany J. Kelley, 55, faces 16 charges including nine counts of forgery — felony of the second degree; five counts of access device is counterfeit, altered, or incomplete — felony of the third degree; and two counts of theft by deception — felony of the third degree.

She was charged in May with 441 counts, including 155 felonies.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, police said, “The school began an audit and discovered Kelley had stolen approximately $157,291 from the school over the course of her employment.”

Charges are often consolidated unless they apply to separate victims, District Attorney Rob Greene said.

“It is kind of like someone steals a jar of pennies,” Greene said. “Do you charge once for a theft of $2.92? Or, do you charge 292 counts of theft of a penny?”

“Oftentimes, the original charges filed by law enforcement are amended at the preliminary hearing to better reflect the crime that has occurred either by adding charges or withdrawing some,” he said.

The case was originally slated for the fall trial term, but has been continued to the next term.

Greene said a settlement conference is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 1.