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House arrest, probation ordered for woman who stole from church

| May 29, 2024

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (May 29, 2024) -A former employee of Emmanuel Lutheran Church won’t serve any jail time for stealing more than $41,000 from its coffers.

Elizabeth Pasquinelli will instead spend 30 days on house arrest and five years on probation and complete 100 hours of community. That was the mutually recommended sentence for the Gnadehutten resident who has no other criminal history or apparent substance use issues and one of the lowest recidivism risk scores Assistant County Prosector Lacey Felix had ever seen.

“Given all of that, given her willingness to pay the restitution and take accountability for her actions, the state would stand by its original recommendation.” 

The case bypassed the usual grand jury process when Pasquinelli agreed to plead guilty to a bill of information charging her with grand theft. Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Elizabeth Thomakos ordered 90 days of local incarceration in a similar case from 2022 but went along with the recommendation because of Pasquinelli’s health issues.

“It would create an unnecessary burden on our jail to house you but there needs to be a punitive aspect of this behaviour.”

Pasquinelli will be confined to her home beginning June 24th, the day after her daughter’s bridal shower. She wrote an apology letter to her former employer and expressed her remorse in court.

“I’m ashamed of myself. I’m so embarrassed. I feel so much guilt.” 

Pasquinelli had agreed to reimburse the church for the amount not covered by insurance, which was just over $32,000. She brought her checkbook to the courthouse on the day of sentencing so she could make the first payment. 

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