News and Press Releases

Former Executive Director of Schuylkill County Victim Center Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge

November 18, 2011

     The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, announced today that the former Executive Director of the Rape and Victim Assistance Center(RAVC)of Schuylkill County, pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, Mary Beth Semerod, age 56, of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, was indicted by a Federal grand jury in Scranton on October 26, 2010. Yesterday, Semerod pleaded guilty before United States District Court Senior Judge Edwin M. Kosik to theft from a program receiving federal funds.

     Between June 2006 and June 2008, Semerod took for her own use approximately $100,000 which was in the custody of the Center. The RAVC received grants of approximately $250,000 in federal grant funds from the U.S. Department of Justice since 2005, through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). The funds were intended to be used for support of alleged victims of crimes against women. The embezzlement was discovered by PCCD when it attempted to conduct an audit of RAVC. Semerod was dismissed from her position as Executive Director in December 2008.
Semerod faces up to 10 years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

     The United States Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General conducted the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John Gurganus.


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