Assistant prosecutor argues against record expungment

WARREN – Assistant county prosecutor Chris Becker believes that expunging – or sealing up – a convicted felon’s record is a privilege, not a right.

That’s why Becker has asked Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Peter Kontos for a hearing to explain why Marcia Cohen should be allowed to expunge her record for theft in office.

Cohen was a secretary at Liberty High School until she was indicted on embezzling money collected by students and held in various accounts.

The 60-year-old Selma Avenue, Youngstown, woman took $370 from the Pennies for Patients fund, a fundraiser to help the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She took another $954 from a fund that held fees for high school transcripts that were sent to various colleges. And she took $3,554 from a junior class student fund that was paying for the prom.

Kontos placed Cohen on five years of probation in November of 2008 and she completed the probation and paid restitution for what she stole.

”The state submits that there is no greater legitimate governmental need than alerting and notifying any and all governmental agencies that a former governmental employee cannot by trusted with public money,” Becker wrote in his request for a hearing.

Liberty police and state auditors investigated the missing money and found the series of thefts dating back to 2004.

”This case is even more egregious than most because not only did the defendant use her position in government to steal the money, but she stole the money from such a vulnerable group of individuals,” Becker wrote.