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Warren probation officers to face judge

WARREN — Two Warren Municipal Court probation officers on paid leave for nearly a year while the state investigated are scheduled to plea to bills of information later this month, according to court records.

Christopher Becker, Trumbull County assistant prosecutor, said he cannot discuss the case until the hearings are held and no documents can be released in connection to the case.

Brenda Mcallister, 54, is scheduled to appear 8:30 a.m. Aug. 24 before Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Peter J. Kontos.

Robin McCoy, 48, is scheduled to appear 8:30 a.m. Aug. 26 before Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge W. Wyatt McKay.

Although the common pleas court website states both women are facing misdemeanor charges involving bribery, Becker said he wouldn’t use the word “bribery” to describe the cases. He was unable to elaborate because of confidentiality.

McCoy’s attorney Jeff Goodman said he could not comment on the case, and attempts to reach Mcallister’s attorney and the women directly were unsuccessful Friday afternoon.

McCoy, chief probation officer, and Mcallister, probation officer for municipal court Judge Terry Ivanchak, are paid about $22 per hour. They have been on paid administrative leave since Sept. 27 when “the court discovered some irregularities,” Gysegem said in March.

They were placed on paid leave, with health care benefits and retirement contributions, on the advice of legal counsel, Gysegem said.

Probation officers with Warren Municipal Court screen and interview clients and give referrals to other agencies for treatment, services and other requirements of probation, tracking the individual’s progress and communicating the information to judges.

McCoy has been the medication-assisted treatment coordinator and chief probation officer for the court since September 2018, but has worked there dating back to 1997, according to personnel records.

Mcallister has worked for the court since February 1998, starting as deputy clerk and domestic violence advocate, personnel records show.

Gysegem said the court has been making due with his probation officer Dana Brown and an intern who took over responsibilities in Ivanchak’s court.

It is too early to say what will happen with Mcallister’s and McCoy’s positions, and it is unclear what they may be pleading to, Gysegem said.

A letter the probation officers received when they were placed on leave states, “If we determine that the allegations are true, additional disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, may be taken.”

The municipal court has cooperated with the investigation, but has no inside information about what the investigation uncovered, Gysegem said.

“Our court does not want to interfere, and have not interfered, in the investigation. We cooperated with BCI and the county prosecutor. This had to be done independently and has been,” Gysegem said.

Ivanchak will make a decision about employment following the outcome of the cases, he said. A conviction may disqualify them from the positions, he said.

“Judge Ivanchak is mulling over his options, and a final decision has to await the official outcome of what is going to happen,” Gysegem said. “I would think a conviction would preclude them, but I am not sure. I don’t know what they are agreeing to.”

Gysegem said he is glad an end is in sight to the nearly yearlong investigation.

“We are looking forward to a resolution. This matter has gone on a long time and a part of the reason is the COVID-19 virus. We took a back seat, I understand that. It’ll be good for the court to resolve this because we want to move forward,” Gysegem said.

More details about the accusations are expected to be made public at the court proceedings.

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