A retired Grant County probation officer pleaded no contest to 21 counts of misconduct in public office in Grant County Circuit Court Jan. 8.
In addition, 46 counts of misdemeanor theft were dismissed but were read in against Sherry L. Buswell, 56, 620 Reid St., Rewey.
Each misconduct charge has a maximum sentence of 3½ years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Sentencing is set for March 19 at 9 a.m.
Buswell is accused of taking money orders from 21 different Probation and Parole clients, and depositing 46 money orders into her own personal accounts for more than $3,820 from July 2011 until she was placed on leave.
Buswell was a Grant County probation and parole agent for 16 years, starting in April 1997.
According to the criminal complaint, a new probation and parole agent, Joseph Packard, was hired in April 2012. After Packard took over, he began looking at case files, including Buswell’s, and found “numerous inconsistencies,” according to court records.
Buswell was placed on leave, and other agents took over her case files. Clients of Buswell’s then began complaining about what was stated that they owed, and they were asked to bring in receipts for money orders they had purchased. People who are placed on probation are required to pay for their supervision with money orders, because the state Department of Corrections does not accept cash, checks or credit cards.
Lancaster police investigated the allegations.
Buswell retired in January.