A Pennsylvania cop accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from the Police Athletic League is now asking for her job back, saying she was innocent of all charges.
However, the court did not find Harrisburg police officer Jennie Jenkins innocent.
She simply avoided trial by agreeing to enter into Dauphin County’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program for first-time offenders, which enables citizens charged with non-violent crimes to avoid criminal charges.
And she also agreed to pay $350 to the athletic league, a fraction of the $7,000 she was accused of stealing by writing checks to herself and falsifying time sheets, something that was not difficult for her to do considering she was the organization’s president.
It’s not exactly solid confirmation of her innocence, but it is much preferable to a guilty conviction.
Jenkins, 44, has also filed a federal lawsuit against the department, claiming she was denied due process when she was suspended without pay without going through an internal investigation or hearing.
The suit also says she was only suspended for embezzlement as retaliation for her having filed a sexual discrimination complaint against the department in August 2013, two months before she was suspended over the missing money.
She is seeking more than $250,000 in lost wages and overtime.
According to a Penn Live article dated October 19, 2013:
Discrepancies first came to the attention of police when newly appointed acting Chief Thomas Carter announced his plan to restructure the understaffed department to maximize its patrol services, Philbin said.
“Once he did that, it became apparent that Officer Jenkins wanted to maintain her position with PAL,” Philbin said. “And that’s when discussions unfolded and irregularities became apparent in the funding.”
Criminal charges against Jenkins were not filed until July 2014 when Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane charged her with one felony and three misdemeanor counts of “theft by unlawful taking,” and one misdemeanor count of theft by deception.
But after entering the rehabilitation diversion program, she can place those charges behind her.
On January 11, 2016, Penn Live reported the following:
A much-publicized theft case against a suspended Harrisburg police officer accused of embezzling from the Police Athletic League ended Monday morning without any admission of wrongdoing by the cop.
Instead, Jennie Jenkins maintained her innocence as she was admitted into Dauphin County’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program, which allows those charged with nonviolent crimes to avoid criminal records.
County Judge Deborah E. Curcillo ordered the criminal case to be closed after Jenkins paid $350 to settle what her attorney, Robert Daniels, said was an unintended “overpayment” from the athletic league. Jenkins, who did not have to enter any plea to gain ARD admission, pledged to make that payment immediately.
The required payment is far less than the $7,000 Jenkins, 44, originally was charged with misappropriating from the organization.
In 2011, Jenkins took over the relaunched Harrisburg Police Athletic League where her role was to serve as a mentor and positive influence to children in the community and try to steer them away from a life of crime. The athletic league had not existed for at three decades before that. It is funded through donations and run by volunteers.
She quickly became a favorite in the community, appearing on televised segments like the one below, as well as recently receiving a “Rosa Parks” award from the Interdenominational Ministers Conference of Greater Harrisburg, as you can also see below. Check out her Twitter feed here.