PARIS – A 34-year-old Bridgton woman was sentenced Thursday to serve 60 days in jail for taking more than $7,000 from a Norway day care center.

Emily J. Parsons, of 15 Beechwood Lane, was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine by Justice Roland Cole in Oxford County Superior Court.

Parsons, a former bookkeeper at OT to Play, took $7,373 from the center, which caters to children with developmental disabilities. According to a sentencing memorandum by defense attorney Merrit Hemingway, the center also incurred $2,330 in fees as a result of an investigation. Detective Gary Hill of the Norway Police Department said the money was deposited in Parsons’ checking account.

Hemingway said the total amount taken was repaid to the center after Parsons pleaded no contest to theft on Jan. 30.

“It’s not only about the money,” said Assistant District Attorney Richard Beauchesne. “It’s not even primarily about the money. It’s about the sense of betrayal.”

Beauchesne recommended in January that Parsons serve one year of a three-year sentence with two years of probation.

Sandra Garcia, co-owner of the center, said the embezzlement led to a reduction of benefits, which resulted in the departure of some employees.

“Emily committed this crime knowing that the company could become bankrupt,” Garcia said.

Parsons apologized to the court, saying she had lost her friends at her former work place.

“I’m begging you for your mercy, your honor,” said Parsons. “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to mend myself to society.”

Parsons’ father and cousin spoke on her behalf.

“She is a good person, and she just made a very bad choice,” said John Goodman, Parsons’ father. “Her family believes that she should be given another chance.”

Hemingway argued that Parsons is unlikely to reoffend, has been forthcoming about the crime, and is pregnant and expecting her second child in June. He asked that Parsons be given a $4,000 fine, a fully suspended one-year prison sentence, two years of probation, and community service.

Cole said it has been suggested to him that embezzlement cases should not include a jail sentence if the money has been paid back. He said that while he believed probation was unnecessary in these cases, incarceration should still be a possibility in breach-of-trust issues.

“I think some time in jail is appropriate,” Cole said.

Parsons will begin serving her sentence March 28.


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