Broadway PALS Board Dealing With Major Theft

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Tipp City, OH, March 14, 2011 —Over the last several weeks, the Tipp City Police Department and the Parent/Teacher Board (PALS) at Broadway Elementary School have been investigating a major accounting discrepancy within the organization, now categorized as a felony theft. The theft occurred over the course of the last two years and was in excess of $38,000. The investigation surrounds the former treasurer of the PALS Board, Sarah Clayton Byram, who was formally released from her position on the Board on February 10, 2011.

With much diligence on the part of the Tipp City Police, the PALS Board, and their legal counsel, a full restitution in the amount of $38,253.90 has been made. At this time, the matter has been officially turned over to the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office. Sentencing of Mrs. Byram will happen at a later date, to be determined by the court.

The PALS Board’s goal has always been to enrich the lives of children and families of Tipp City and the Board will not sway from that stance. PALS is committed to moving forward with a renewed fervor and passion for the education and development of the children of our beloved community.

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84 COMMENTS

  1. Why destroy this woman's life? Since all funds were restored in full why not consider this a temporary loan? I freely admit I don't have the whole story but since this was kept under wraps during the entire investigation why publicize this incident now? I googled her and see that she is a Real Estate Agent for RE/MAX, there has absolutely got to be some redeeming qualities here. I don't know Sarah but she projects a very trustful image, I wish her the very best.

    • Your impressions are spot-on. I have known this woman for 30 plus years. I, too don't have all the facts about the situation, but know that this was obviously a lapse in judgment. One that was corrected. I also don't understand why this needs to be published now. This is one of the kindest, sweetest women I have ever known and pray that she and her family can be strong throughout this time.

    • Guess you never learned that stealing is wrong either, your children have a great example to follow.

    • Who do you propose has destroyed this woman's life? Law enforcement who are doing the duty they took an oath to do? School officials who are providing our children with a positive enviroment and good role models? The PALs members who work so hard to better our schools and the education of our children? The only one who has destroyed this woman's life is the woman who chose to steal money from her community. With our choices in life come conseqences. This is something that we learn at an early age. She may have wonderful qualities but that does not excuse her from her crimes. It is not just a matter of dolllars and cents. Through her actions she has damaged the trust of a wonderful organization that greatly benefits kids. How could anyone feel that she should not pay the price for what she has done? Sadly, her family will also suffer reprocusions. For that I am truly sorry, but the blame falls squarely on her shoulders and no one elses.

    • What do you mean why destroy her life? She destroyed her life. She made her own decisions as an adult. Investigations are usually not publicized until a person can be charged. There are a lot of people who project a good trustful image it doesn't mean that is true. If a stranger broke into your home and stole everything you would want them prosecuted. I think her being a trustworthy friend of the schools makes this crime worse.

  2. If I rob a bank and get caught. I will say it is a loan and I was going to pay it back. Then it is OK.

    • Sometimes theft is all about perception. For example you pay your taxes as a good citizen of Tipp City. You decide to run up to McDonalds in Tipp City for breakfast and you find 4-5 City of Tipp City vehicles in the parking lot. Question, are the employees guilty of theft of your hard earned tax dollars? Even if you factor in a paid break for the employees, you had to pay almost $4.00 a gallon to transport the employees to McDonalds. Over the course of a year this adds up significantly, ask yourself, is this theft?

      • She took $38,000+ which did not belong to her. That is FACT not perception. She committed a crime in the eyes of society, the law, and God. This is FACT not peception. Paying the money back is the absolute least she can do. The law says she must pay for a crime of this magnitude. It is out of the hands of school officials and the police. She must and will face the music. She solidified her fate when she chose to steal that money. She made the decision to steal repeatedly. This is Fact not perception. She has addmitted this. She knows she committed a crime. What don't you understand about that? No one wants her burned at the stake. We are not hunting her with pitchforks and torches. She is a grown woman who knew she what she was doing was wrong and chose to do it anyway. This was not a single laps in judgement. She chose to do it again and again and again. There is no other way to perceive it.

        • You didn't answer my question! According to your message all stealing is wrong no matter the circumstances, do you really believe that? Don't be such a hater, I just hope you people with nasty dispositions can live with yourselves if you drive Sarah to commit suicide.

          • Yes, all stealing is wrong. This is something that most of us have known since early childhood. You are right. There are many types of theft. However, just because other people in the world steal or commit other crimes and have yet to suffer the conseqences of their own actions does not excuse anyone who has. Clearly you are a friend of Sarah's. I am glad she has a friend, You say she is sorry. I am glad she is sorry. The law is the law. For every crime there is a punishment. If Sarah is the person you say she is I am certain that she realizes this. I am not attacking her. I do not hate her. I do not even know her, but I do know that she committed a felony and anyone (regardless of how nice, or pretty, or how good a parent they are) who has done so must stand before a judge and take their punishment. We all live with the consequences of our choices. Your friend Sarah is no different than anyone else. Stop making excuses for poor behavior.

          • Oh My God! Being a little extreme with the suicide comment. You stated you don't know Sarah but can make that kind of "assumption" about her? No one said that Sarah's life should be destroyed & I'm sure she has some redeeming qualities but you are making comments on everything but the facts of the matter. She stole $38,000. This is a fact. Now… like anyone else, she must face the legal ramifications of her actions regardless of how nice she looks.

          • David, I should not have to explain this but my message about Sarah resembling my Grandma wasn't meant to imply how nice she looks, sorry. It was a comment meant to invoke honesty and integrity. Yes, I know that Sarah confessed, but why, will she have a change of venue? Will she fight this with all she has? I don't have all the answers but I don't know anyone that does either. No, the driving Sarah to commit suicide is legit, once the mob mentality strikes you would be surprised what effect that can have. I think Sarah has been punished enough, let's stop all of this madness here and now.

  3. Sarah is such a good woman, a wonderful loving wife and an even better mother. I honestly dont think she is humanly capable of such a thing. I pray God puts it on the heart of whoever ends up deciding the outcome, to have mercy and I also pray that those who know her don't make snap judgements or lose their trust. She's pure gold, through and through! I am so sorry that this happened and send my love to her and Jason.

  4. I've no idea how you come to the conclusion that she's a good mother. If she's actually proven guilty of stealing money from PAL's. It's been going on for over 2 years. If she wanted a loan, she should have went to the bank. That's what a good mother teaches her children. Now, her children will also be paying for her crime. Everyone knows who she is and who the child/children are at school. Temporary loan! Ha! That's what is said until they get caught.

  5. Wow, someone takes over $38K (and let's face it, even more, bc there was lots of cash) and people are defending her? I wouldn't want her coming through my home as my agent or someone else's agent. If she is capable of stealing from the kids, she's capable of stealing from me or you. I did like her and did trust her, but she was a fake. The PALS board has always funded coats for kids at Broadway who could not afford them, but there was no money to do that this year bc Sarah stole the money. She told the board that they couldn't afford it and that was a lie, they could afford it, it's just that she took the money. How can you sleep at night when you take that much money and deny coats to kids who need them? She has been doing this for over two years. This is not just a few dollars, people. AND… it hasn't been paid back yet, so don't make that assumption. She's gotta find someone else to steal, I mean borrow, it from first. I mostly feel sorry for her kids and family. It's just sad. I really liked her.

    • Whoa, according to the story posted here, the entire amount was restored, no one is making an assumptions.

      "With much diligence on the part of the Tipp City Police, the PALS Board, and their legal counsel, a full restitution in the amount of $38,253.90 has been made."

    • you apparently don't know much about this. The money has been paid back in FULL. It's amazing to me to read some of these posts. Where is the grace?? Where is the forgiveness?? People make mistakes, you included. We all do. I have known her my whole adult life. She has always been an amazing, loving, caring person. She is eternally sorry for her mistake, and I for one, choose to forgive and love her through. You would want the same given to u from others if u had your skeletons aired for all to see. Instead of bashing her, pray for her and her kids and family to get through this time.

      • Many a thief has been eternally sorry for her crimes AFTER she is caught. She did not repay the stolen funds on her own accord. Sarah did so only because she was caught red-handed using the PALS money for her own use. Had the situation not been realized by other board members and the police involved, she would still be stealing today. She may have been an amazing, loving and caring friend to you, but she is a harmful, selfish, and deceitful to the kids at broadway and the hard-working and generous parents who have given so much to the school and the PALS org. This was not some small indiscretion. Sarah Clayton-Byram committed a felony. She is a thief. Thank God for those who stopped her at last! I will pray that she redeems herself and I pray for you that you see her for what she is and help her to repent,and hopefully regain some measure of trust in this town. She must first accept responsibility for what she has done. There are no acceptable excuses.

      • Many a thief has been eternally sorry for her crimes AFTER she is caught. She did not repay the stolen funds on her own accord. Sarah did so only because she was caught red-handed using the PALS money for her own use. Had the situation not been realized by other board members and the police involved, she would still be stealing today. She may have been an amazing, loving and caring friend to you, but she is a harmful, selfish, and deceitful to the kids at broadway and the hard-working and generous parents who have given so much to the school and the PALS org. This was not some small indiscretion. Sarah Clayton-Byram committed a felony. She is a thief. Thank God for those who stopped her at last! I will pray that she redeems herself and I pray for you that you see her for what she is and help her to repent,and hopefully regain some measure of trust in this town. She must first accept responsibility for what she has done. There are no acceptable excuses.

  6. I agree with you Disgusted and Trusting. I am quite sure, no matter how great a friend, mother, RE agent she is, that the Tipp City School Board and Broadway Elementary did not make a "snap judgment" or decision here. It is not even acceptable to "borrow" $1 out of a school fund! The money in the PALS account came from donations and hard work at fundraising events! (All those moms literally sweating it out at the annual Fun-Fair! It just burns me!)

    People work hard to ensure that the children of Tipp City lack for nothing in their educational environment and it is with trust that board members are elected to such positions. I say SHAME ON YOU for thinking you can take an "at will" loan off the backs of giving and hardworking parents and citizens. Whatever the "loan" was used for it is criminal behavior!

    I will say that I am praying for justice to prevail and for her family…imagine her poor children! I'm not perfect but I'm not stupid either. What kind of mother puts her children in jeopardy like this? I don't need to know this "golden woman" to see it's plated and not 24k.

  7. I wonder how this happened over the course of two years? Where was the the oversight? There is a lot more to this story than is being reported.

    As these details come out, maybe some of your opinions of this “Thief” will change.
    The entire PALS board should be held accountable for this action ( or inaction).

    I for those of you that would say that since she repaid her theft, we should all thank her for her wonderful service.. I say BS ! She knew what she was doing, and only repaid once she was looking at jailtime.

    A wonderful mother? Maybe from her kids perspective, but I would argue the opposite. A wonderful mother would never expose her children to a premise that “borrowing without permission” is OK.

    Unfortunately, since she was able to repay her “loan” she will do little or no jail time. This make the matter that much worse in my opinion. If she was able to repay after she was staring at jailtime, She was able to not need the money in the first place.

    While this may be a tragety for her family, It was self inflicted.

  8. Most investigations are kept under wraps until all the details are sorted out. That's not uncommon. Why publicize it now, because they had enough evidence to charge her with the crime that was committed. Having made donations to the PALS organization, I believe we have a right to know what happened to all the money "we" donated. It sickens me to think that the money the families have donated over the past couple years went into her pocket and not to the children/school.

  9. I also find it hard to believe people are defending her. Many parents have worked very hard over the years to raise that money for the kids. To tell someone it is okay to take it as long as you pay it back is wrong. How would you feel if someone took your paycheck each week and you didn't have it. Then the person paid you back two years later. Really? This PALS group has done away with a lot this year that they use to do for the kids. Why? They didn't have the money. They cut their budget which in turn affected all of our kids. Here is a thought maybe she should have cut her budget. This is shameful. I personally applaud whoever finally caught this and brought it to light. We all have a right to know. Shame on anyone who feels the need to keep this covered up for such a fine upstanding lady. Give me a break.

  10. Well, the thing is… I really do not believe she did this. I believe the only reason she pled guilty was so she'd get a reduced sentence. If she did do it, which it'd be hard for me to swallow that, then I truly believe she really did have every intention of paying it back. I know this woman and she's no theif. Speculate all you want.

    • Do you really think she pled guilty and was not? I admire your trust in her although obviously missed placed.

      Intentions are sometimes good ( though illegal) I find it hard to swallow that you would actually think that her actions were misguided and not dis honest.

      Speaking of speculation, I have some riverfront property by Kyle Park that is for sale. Are you interested?

    • get your head out of the sand!! She plead guilty because it's hard to argue with a reciept with her signature or a check signed by her….but you know…maybe someone was forging her name!!

      I should come steal from you but leave a note and let you know that I will give everything back in two years….will that be ok?

  11. In reading all these comments, I am in complete shock. What is wrong with the world today? Since when is it socially acceptable to STEAL? I don't care if she was voted "Mother of the Year". She STOLE over 38,000. dollars of money donated by parents and businesses of Tipp City. How long do you think it takes to raise that kind of money? A long time. She didn't write one check to get out of a bind…it was over, and over, and over. I hope the Judge makes an example out of her.

    • I totally agree with you…..in an economy like today when most families are cutting back on things or not spending money like in years past, Sarah just wrote and check when she wanted something, without any care or regard to the people who donated their hard earned money!

  12. Please let th truth be known.. stealing is stealing.. no matter who know.. or how big of a smile you put on for a judge.. you were trusted to do a job! her license as a realtor should be investigated.. her financial obligations to banks- credit cards- etc.. should additionally be looked into.. again, I agree.. shame on you once for fooling people.. shame on us twice for trusting you to do it again.. THIS WOMAN IS DANGEROUS without a conscience..

  13. Sarah was given the "honor" of being elected to a position because people trusted & respected her. No matter how you look at it, Sarah, misused her title of office for selfish gain not caring about the consequences of her actions & what it would bring upon her family & friends. A temporary loan? I'm sorry that is just a lame excuse & any reasonable person would see through it. It was wrong, illegal, and Sarah should pay the consequence of her actions. We are all struggling today in one way or another financially. But if we all resorted to the tactics of Sarah Clayton-Byram where would our nation be? Does Sarah have some good qualities? I'm sure she does, but that still doesn't excuse her from the letter of the law. But is jail time at the expense of us good tax payers the answer, not in my opinion. I think Sarah should be given a sentence of mandated counseling to help her with whatever problem she has that would make her think it was okay to commit such a felony. AND… I think she should be required to perform community service to Tipp City, I don't care if its sweeping street gutters! I think time served (hours, days, or years) for community service should be derived based upon the two years she was stealing from the fund & the amount she stole. Then and only then do I think Sarah Clayton Bryam will learn that its not right to steal and just may earn back "some" trust from her community.

  14. People defending her are fools. Many a criminal have appeared sweet and innocent until they were caught. This was an unconscionable act. She should to be prosecuted to the fullest extent and be forced to leave our town. Shame on her.

    • Sarah looks like my Grandma, where is your compassion? Are you sure you wouldn't like to cut both of her hands off before forcing her to leave town? Where was the oversight? Sounds like all the haters have to share in some of the blame here.

      • "Sarah looks like my Grandma"

        Sorry about your luck

        "where is your compassion?"

        It is placed with people that deserve it.

        "Are you sure you wouldn't like to cut both of her hands off before forcing her to leave town?"

        Amputation is a little too harsh. Have her leave town? OK

        "Where was the oversight? Sounds like all the haters have to share in some of the blame here".

        There are other board members that knew or should have known the " Little loan " was missing from the PAL treasure chest.I am not a hater, But I am willing to call a self admitted thief a thief

        While volunteering is a noble and unpaid cause, it sometimes comes with responsibility..If these things were undetected and no one knew, EVERY MEMBER OF THIS BOARD SHOULD RESIGN

        • Please remember it is the board who caught this and brought to everyone's attention.

          • AMEN! Thank goodness they did. I'm glad she wasn't an agent showing my home or have my home listed. How do we know this is all that has gone on? If she can steal $38,000 what else has gone undetected? Hmmm….maybe investigate her real estate dealings over the past two years? I think that would be a great place to start. I bet you wouldn't find clean records at all.

      • Are you suggesting that she is not guilty because people trusted her and did not prevent her from stealing? If someone steals from your home would you look the other way because you did not protect your home well enough? Should the thief be allowed to get off scot-free because she looks nice? Justice is blind. It doesn't matter how she looks. I agree that she should have been caught sooner, but Sarah is the criminal in this unfortunate situation and she must be treated as such. I am certain that the accounting practices of the PALS group will be very closely monitored in the future.

        By the way, Bernie Madoff looks just like my favorite uncle…by your standards he should be let off too.

        • Do you know for absolute certainty that the PALS bylaws restricted Sarah from initiating a temporary interest free loan to herself? She was the Treasurer and as such would have some latitude with handling the funds. I have it on good authority that her legal counsel is looking at this very issue right now. All the other board members sat back and let good ole Sarah do all the work with no oversight or assistance. Let's put everything on the table for discussion.

          • I do not know about their bylaws, but I know for certain that it illegal for a non profit organization to give out interest free loans to their members, certainly for the loans to be paid by check by the person that writes the check

            And I agree, anyone with access to the funds ledger should be investigated and prosecuted if found to be involved with this theft.

            And if your good authority knows the attorney that is looking up this little loan thing, I would suggest that you turned them into the bar association as being a hack if they actually being paid to do so,

          • You did not answer my questions.

            It is absolutely illegal to "borrow" funds from a non profit organization for personal use. This is not a law made just for Sarah it is illegal for anyone to do this. If other members have been "borrowing" then they should be held to the same standard. .

          • All the other board members let good ole Sarah do all the work? Give me a break!!! I have read your other posts and you must be delusional. Even Sarah knows she committed a crime. She has said so before a judge. We are all sinners, but she is clearly no saint! Why do you insist upon martyrizing her? She did not "fall upon her sword" to protect anyone but herself. She copped a plea because she knew conviction was likely if she went to trial and her chances of a light sentence would be blown. She did it. She knows she did it. Now let her pay her debt to society so she can move on with her life. You are not helping her or our town by stirring the pot.

          • Whoa, I thought this was still a free country not a communist state! Who put you in control of censoring the world wide web? Get this, your opinion is no better, carries no more weight, and is no more accurate than the next person when posting here. I have my beliefs and faith in Sarah and you or none of the other haters posting here will change that. Most are comfortable with the fact that Sarah plead guilty, remember she has the right for change of venue, especially if her legal council finds any loophole in the case. I've said it before and I'll say it again…….the fat lady has not finished singing just yet. Hang onto your hats ladies, this is the good ole USA, anythiing is possible. All I'm saying is there is more to the story, why condem a person without having all the facts?

          • In what way did I censor the world-wide web? At what point did condem anyone without facts?

            FACT:SHE PLEAD GUILTY.
            FACT:The money was repaid only AFTER she was caught
            FACT:Only Sarah is responsible for Sarah's actions
            FACT:There is no legal or ethical way to take money from a not for profit organization and use it on personal expenditures.
            FACT:She took money multiple times over the course of two years
            FACT:The police did a thorough investigation and only Sarah was brought up on charges.
            .
            Be Sarah's friend, help her through this difficult time in her life, but don't gloss over what has happened here. Certainly voice your oppinion, but you would sway more people if you weren't so extreme. Calling people haters? I have not read one post that says Sarah is hated. Accusing people of having no compassion because they believe in our legal system? Accusing people of having a mob mentality because they agree and you don't? Calling people nasty and saying they want to run Sarah out of town or drive her to suicide? No one has brought up these possibilities but you. Maybe you should ask yourself some of the questions that have been posed to you by other posters on this site. You never do answer them.

          • If this is the approach that Sarah and her attorney are going to take- that she was permitted to take "loans" from the PALS account, then there is no way that she is sorry for her actions. She isn't taking responsibility for what she did. This is a total joke. If her defenders only knew "the rest of the story", I think they would re-evaluate if they really ever knew the "real" Sarah. Everyone makes mistakes, but it's how we deal with them that shows our true character. People could have understood if she took money once but to continually use the PALS check book as her own for two years–now that's a different story and to try to blame the other board members–come on. Who knows what kind of books were made up to cover her tracks. I really feel for her parents and children.

          • Sarah is a sweet person. I'd say she had a lapse in judgment. Let's not condemn her. She made a mistake. Let's be Christians and forgive her

    • Name calling of those who differ in perspective/opinion is not necessary here as we are all expressing our opinions based upon our beliefs & what we know of the situation. While I agree that a statement like, "Sarah looks like my Grandma" carries no relevance whatsoever in the matter & she should face the consequences of her actions. Forcing Sarah to leave town is a little extreme. All you have to do is check the legal registeries for Miami County and you will find that there are people who have committed crimes much more heinous than what Sarah has done, living right here in our little community. And… while I agree what Sarah did was legally wrong, she has done much more than most criminals (which shows some level of decency if not remorse) in that she has repaid what was taken. I think all of us should think, before writing & submitting our opinions regarding this matter, of how would you feel if someone stole $38,000.00 that you had worked very hard to save. Someone you had trusted & respected as a friend & a peer within your community. I would hope that we all would be of the "general" opinion that the person should be brought before the law & judged accordingly but also that in the humanistic side of the matter, that some kind of counseling is provided to help that person realize what they did was wrong & to correct or modify their behavior such that they can lead a productive life. No one is perfect, people make bad decisions every day with what they "think" is good intent but let us use "rational thought" & not raw emotions when viewing at this matter.

  15. I'm feeling sad all around about this. Sarah made a series of bad choices, and needs to suffer consequences, but we need to recognize that no one got hurt, the money is back in the account, and halfway around the world, people are in crisis. If we told them that we are all up in arms over this, they'd think we were crazy. None of us is without fault and we can hate the crime, but there's no need to hate the person. We are all sinners. Don't let this mistake she made bring out the worst in all of us. It makes me sad that it happened and sad to hear the way people are talking about it. Why are so many people so anxious to see her suffer more? I'm all for her suffering the consequences, but let's not bury her. We're a better town than that."

    • Thank u. Finally someone who can look past our own little issue here in Tipp, and recognize how small it is in comparison to what's going on in our world. I'm so glad God is God, and not these people writing in. So full of hatred and unforgiveness. trust me, she is suffering….not sure why these people are wanting to see her suffer more? Will it help them sleep better at night? I grew up in Tipp, and thought our people were better than this. Kinder than this. This is when a community should come together and help pick her back up, not shoot our wounded.

      • I'm confused as to why $38,000+ is considered small. It's deflection to say that because people around the world are suffering, we can ignore a trusted community leader misusing donated funds. Friends should come together and help pick her back up, and that's part of the healing. But we should also expect her to be prosecuted. Turning a blind eye to criminal activity is a dangerous message to send.

    • What about the kids she stole from? What about the friends she lied too? What about the other board members who uncovered this crime that a "friend" committed? People did get hurt!

      You are right, it is sad it happened, but you are wrong, I am sure she hurt people.

  16. As early as our first days of walking, we learn there are consequences for our actions. Many of the posters here insinuate this was a "temporary loan" and should be ignored. They say because she paid the money back, there's no problem. Rubbish. Any time you "borrow" something, there is no guarantee you can give it back. What if that house sale commission falls through? What if your kid gets sick? There are any number of reasons she could have (and may have) been unable to repay her debt to the PTO. There was no collateral, no promissory note, and no legal oversight. That makes it theft. The question isn't whether she's a nice person who looks friendly. If someone stole your $38,000 Lexus from your driveway, took $38,000 in merchandise from your small business, or stole $38,000 in computer equipment from an elementary school, you'd expect them to serve jail time. If I borrowed a city truck and took it to a pawn shop for a temporary loan, then put the truck back, it would still be considered a crime. Put it in perspective: if a 58 year old man who looked kind of scruffy had done this, people would be livid if he got away without jail time. A felony is a felony regardless of how sweet the thief is in church. I'm all for helping her move past this, hope she gets the help she needs, and am willing to forgive. But that doesn't mean we can ignore what she did and ask for her to go unpunished.

  17. I just cannot accept that Sarah is a criminal, sorry. I do not believe that we have the whole story here and until we do much is left to speculation. Please join me in support of Sarah until such time that she is proven guilty in a court of law, which may or may not happen. Remember she is innocent until proven guilty. It's amazing to me how the mob mentality in this town comes out when something like this happens. This is why we have a justice system people!

    • Sarah waived trial and PLED guilty, fully admitting fault. The matter now moves to sentencing. There are a lot of things we don't want to believe about our own friends and family. She may not fit your profile of a criminal, but she has admitted in court to committing criminal behavior.

      • The plot thickens, I wonder if she is trying to protect someone? Perhaps that is why she fell on her sword and copped a guilty plea.

    • I hate to tell you, but she did actually plead guilty in a court of law at her arraignment on Monday.

    • sometimes you can't stick your head in the sand anymore….she plead guilty…that means that she realized she'd been caught. Kinda hard to dispute that!

  18. I find some of these posts a sad reminder of our society where personal accountability isn't as highly valued as it once was. Just because Sarah is a friend still doesn't justify her actions and I believe a true friend would support her moving ahead without making inane excuses. The level of delusion in some of these posts is incomprehensible to me.

    Also, while I agree that better transparency is necessary within the PALS organization, and this incident will inevitably drive greater transparency, let's not forget who is responsible for taking the money.

  19. Maybe the people who want to run Sarah out of town should be looking in another direction. How could this happen over a period of two years without being caught? What kind of system was in place to account for the funds, how many others were allowed to handle money with no formal accounting of those funds? Is Sarah the "fall guy" for many others? It seems to me that most of the negative comments are from those who really only know what the press and the board are telling them, maybe that is not the whole truth.

    • Kayla, you are absolutely correct. Most of these comments were written with little to no knowledge of the incident. As stated earlier, it's easy for these people to fall for the mob mentality, jumping on the bandwagon so to speak. I have one message for these haters, the fat lady has not sung just yet. I'm sure there is much more to this story. Why did it take two years for this to be uncovered? I have no idea what percentage of funds was missing, but if they couldn't buy coats that indicates the account was nearly empty. How can all the funds be unaccounted for and no one notice for two years? Right now there are more questions than answers that's for certain.

      • Well, sad to say, but this is a very small town and we sometimes assume no one would steal. Most of us trust our friends and neighbors. The cash handling of many organizations in town is the old method of count the tickets, count the bills, enter in a ledger, and make a deposit. If the same person was treasurer for two years it would be easy to take a little here and a little there without other board members knowing.

    • If the police worked with the board and found exactly what she owed and she agreed to that amount, then wouldn't they have seen other missing funds? Are you saying that she is taking responsibility for the full amount when some of the money went to other board members? It was hard enough to believe Sarah would do this, let alone a group of community leader moms working together. The way these comments are going the case will be on Nancy Grace before too long.

  20. I have read all the posts about Sarah and this terrible situation and with the exception of one or two, they seem very well thought out and fair. Generally people just want Sarah to be treated the same as any other person would be in the same circumstances. Charges would not have been filed had there not been sufficient evidence that a crime had in fact been committed. Sarah plead guilty and is accepting responsibility. I can only assume she knew there would be possible jail time involved. From what I can see, most people are upset that certain posters insist upon making excuses for Sarah's serious lack of judgment. To refer to a group of people as falling into mob mentality because they agree that justice should be served is ridiculous. A mob can be defined as a riotous, lawless or irrational crowd. In general the posters who disagree with you do not come across as fitting that description at all. In a civilized society, justice is dispensed according to the severity of the crime. A judge will take into account many factors including the overall character of the accused. If you read the posts objectively, time and again it is stated that Sarah should face the conseqences for her actions. What is so crazy or irrational about that?

  21. Good people can make bad mistakes, we have all made them, some of them we paid for dearly, some of them we got away with, or paid a small price for. Things happen every day to people, but if they are not a public figure you do not hear about it. I say give the benefit of the doubt freely, then let it go. Being humilitated, making good on all monies missing is punishment in itself. What possible good would be served by going further with the issue. Anything more would be revenge seeking. I think that setting up a good accounting structure from the beginning would have avoided most of the problems. The people who actually get paid for the work should be more responsible for the funds, not the people who are giving thier hard work and time freely. Yes, you should not borrow these funds, that is a given, but the money is no longer missing, the problem has been rectified.

    • Kayla, while I can appreciate your positive outlook, please understand the reality of what has happened. Sarah did not take out a temporary loan. She did not borrow money from a non-profit organization. She stole and not just once but time and again. Yes, the money has been repaid but the reputation of a fine organization has been severely damaged and the community may not be as generous as they were previously. Make no mistake, the children and the school who have benefited from the hard work of the PALS organization have been hurt and will be hurt in the future. Just because the money has been returned does not mean the problem is rectified. You say that feeling humiliated and making good on the monies was punishment in itself. Are you willing to make those same concession to anyone who commits a crime in our town? Are you prepared to live in a town where we disreguard the letter of the law each time someone is sorry for what they have done? Try to think about this rationaly and not be overtaken by emotion.Sarah made her choices and will pay the price for her corrupt actions. It is not the fault of the PALS board members that Sarah stole $38,000+. If she is the good person you claim she is, then she must understand that the responsibilty for her actions is hares alone. She knew when she plead guilty to her charges that she would have to accept whatever punishment a judge hands down. With the help of her family and friends and some counseling she can get her life back on track.

    • OMGosh. So If I go to the mall and borrow a dress that I want to wear to a party, choose to not pay for it, get caught at the party wearing it….your saying I can return it and all is good? NO FREAKING WAY!!!! Humility is not her punishment…the judge will determine that.

    • "….making good on all monies missing is PUNISHMENT in itself…." – that is NOT punishment, its called restitution! Punishment would be jail time!

  22. To Sorry for her…do you understand that she pled "GUILTY" and also waived her right to a trial? Change of venue, loopholes…do you understand that all that is left is the sentencing. The Judge is doing his own presentence investigation, but there will be no trial. Again, she waived those rights and pled guilty.

  23. yes and by PLEADING GUILTY she is assuming all responsability. She knows what she did was wrong and she is mortified. She has accepted that she'll be punished. She's willing to do whatever it takes to rectify it. You do not know her, those of you who are bashing her name… well most of you anyway as far as I know. But I do. She has been an absolute blessing to my family in the best way possible. She has saved my brothers life by being his wife. You can't know about her what I know, that she IS a decent person who made a really bad mistake.
    Even though I hold her in high esteem, I know she has to face what she's done. She did it, it's true. She should be held accountable, yes. But run out of town? driven to suicide?? Good Lord people!
    Have you thought about the rapists that live in tipp city? Should they be run out of town? Driven to suicide??
    Have you put yourselves into her shoes? Would if you were the one who did something like this and everyone was condemning you for it?
    Don't judge the criminal, judge the crime… Only God can judge the person and if I know Sarah then Im SURE she has repented and is forgiven by Jesus…. which is all that matters.
    What I say, what you say, none of that matters. AT ALL. Not to her, because the only one she will stand before is God and give an account for her actions. Not you, and not me.
    Just give it a rest and let her pay for what she did and move on with her life. And if you see her in the grocery, see her at the park… BLESS HER.
    Show her the best in you.

    • I am glad to see you are ready to accept the truth about what Sarah did. Maybe you are too close to the situation to read these posts objectively, but no one is suggesting that Sarah should be run out of town or driven to suicide. One extremest "supporter" introduced these ideas and no one else. What upsets people is that some individuals have greatly minimized the severity of what Sarah has done. She did hurt many people. She did damage the reputation of the PALS organization. She did commit a serious crime. People simply want justice, not revenge-there is a BIG difference. We do feel compassion for Sarah and especially her family and friends as they have been the most hurt by her choices. Sarah has a long road ahead of her. When trust is lost it is not easily earned back, but if she has as many wonderful qualities as you describe, I am sure she can do it. I think, in time you will see the people of Tipp City are not as cruel or unforgiving as you think.

  24. It's crazy that this went on for so long. I honestly don't know what to think. I talked to someone who raised concerns about Sarah last year that were dismissed. If that's true (I believe it is), then the board or members who were told of the concerns hold some responsibility here as well. She took the money. She is guilty. Shame on those who made it so easy for her to do. I appreciate what the board does, but if you are going to accept the responsibility of sitting on a board, for gosh sakes, do your job! Never actually looking at the bank statements in all that time is just plain stupid. I don't know how else to say that. Sorry for offending, but others hold some responsibility here. I'm not saying they knew, but they sure made it easy for her.

  25. Peoples feelings were hurt. No one was physically hurt. I don't think she should go to jail for hurting your feelings. This isn't kindergarten.

    • First, it is not certain that she will serve jail time. Second, she is not being prosecuted for hurting people's feelings; she is being prosecuted for stealing $38,000+. If someone stole $38,000 from you I am sure you would call the police, file a report, launch an investigation and have the guilty party charged with the crime. Why should it be any different for Sarah Clayton Byrum?

    • I have a kindergartener at Broadway Elementary and HE knows that stealing is wrong. Ask any kid in that school and I would bet they could tell you that stealing is wrong. Ask them what happens to people who steal and they will know that people who steal get into trouble. We should be able to expect more from adults than we do from children, don't you agree?

    • Jenny, are you correct, she shouldn't go to jail for hurt feelings. She should, however, go to jail for committing a felony.

      Again, while you are correct in stating this is not kindergarten, most in kindergarten would be able to identify what Sarah did was wrong.

    • Only feelings were hurt? How about the kids who suffered through an extremely cold winter because PALS could not provide them with a warm coat? What about the families in need for whom PALS would have provided Christmas gifts had Sarah not stolen the money that would have been used to buy them? Sarah had a warm coat to wear and she gave her kids a lovely christmas. This I know for a fact. She acted selfishly and without guilt until she was caught and forced to give the money back. How dare you say only feelings were hurt! Shame on you! She may go to jail bacause she committed a serious crime and the people of Tipp City have every right to be angry.

  26. It's sad for all involved. Everyone, needs to let the justice system go to work. We all need to get on with our own lives and let Sarah get on with hers. I pray for peace for all concerned. We are not to judge. Just let it go.

  27. I have a daughter that attends Broadway and after reading all of the comments that are suggesting why didn't other board members notice anything missing and how they let her get away with this…..my answer is Sarah is an adult and she was put in a position of trust. She is the only one to blame for this, she made the decision to steal money over a 2 year period. It made me sick when they showed her in court on the news just sitting there with a huge smile on her face, she showed no remorse for what she did. And I feel that she should get punished to the fullest for her crime. I do feel bad for her family but not for her.

  28. Congratulations to those of you who shut down those posters who thought stealing thousands of dollars from school children was no big deal! While reading these comments I began to feel sick, not only about the crime that was committed but also (and maybe more so)because there seemed to be so many folks who wanted to sweep it under the rug. I am heartened to see that your strong and well-thought arguments have changed the tide. One if the reasons I love our town is that we support our schools and our youth. I know this will continue in the future which only means a brighter future for us all. Thank you to those individuals at Broadway who looked past their friendships and did the right and honest thing. Thank you to the fine Tipp city P.D. who conducted a thorough investigation and reclaimed the missing funds. You make me proud to live in Tipp City!

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