Los Banos teacher accused of stealing prom money

May 13, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Los Banos teacher is accused of stealing money that was supposed to be used for the school's prom. Now the district says it's pursuing a criminal investigation.

Administrators say the teacher stole nearly $2,500.00 that students paid for their prom tickets. They say she gave about half of it back after being caught, but now the district is pursuing charges because the rest of the money has not been returned.

The Los Banos High School campus is now missing one of its special education teachers. Administrators say Jillian Ketcher resigned May 1st after she was caught stealing from the students' prom fund.

Los Banos Unified Area Administrator Paul Enos said, "Oh it's very sad. It's very difficult. There's a lot of stuff going on at a high school, and it's difficult to get people to step up to the plate and take on these advisory roles, and run all the different activities that need to be done, so it's a sad deal, it's a sad deal."

Officials say Ketcher was serving as the junior class advisor when she started embezzling the money. A financial secretary noticed funds were missing on April 25th -- just two days before the prom. The Los Banos Unified Superintendent tells Action News Ketcher returned nearly half of the $2,500.00 the next day.

"Luckily we were able to recoup quite a bit of it," said Enos. "There's still an outstanding balance so again I think our concern was the prom going off, and it went off really well, and the kids didn't know any different."

The district put Ketcher on administrative leave as it investigated the theft, and the school board decided Thursday night to pursue criminal charges.

Sgt. Elias Reyes said, "At this point the Los Banos Police Department has taken a report, but the report has not been forwarded to the district attorney's office."

Parents ABC30 spoke with say they're disappointed to hear a teacher is accused of taking from the students she was hired to help.

Nadine Orabuena said, "We're supposed to be a community that we're here to do for each other and help each other, help our kids, and somebody taking away is not right."

Police say they were waiting to hear if the district wanted to press charges before starting their own criminal investigation. But they say Ketcher could face felony charges for the embezzlement based on the amount of money she's accused of stealing.


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