FARMINGTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The longtime treasurer of a food pantry in Farmington has been sentenced to serve 30 days in jail.
Seventy-four-year-old Mary O’Donal was also ordered to repay the more than $300,000 she stole from the Care and Share Food Closet.
The people who run the food pantry are torn over the relatively light sentence. They hope it does not send the message that it’s a minor offense to steal that much money. They also realize the sentence will allow O’Donal to work and begin repaying the money she took.
For the people who run the Care and Share Food Closet, there was denial when suspicion fell upon their longtime treasurer Mary O’Donal.
“I didn’t see that one coming, this has been quite a shock,” Jerry Allen, co-director of the food pantry, told the judge.
After all, she was known as a person in the community who gave of herself.
“Involved in many other charities in the area and had a good reputation”, said Leiza Hiltz Scerbo, executive director of the food pantry.
That’s what made the betrayal so tough to take. When O’Donal appeared before a judge Thursday, the denial was wiped away as she admitted what she had done through her attorney.
“I am not a bad person. I did a very bad thing. I hurt people who did not deserve to be hurt and for that I am very sorry,” attorney Christopher Berryment read from a letter.
Rather than seeking vengeance, operators of the food pantry had mercy on her by allowing O’Donal to remain in her home with her husband after she is released from jail. When they both pass, the house will be turned over to the food pantry as part of the restitution. While the case is now resolved, many questions remain. Questions that only Mary O’Donal may hold the answers to.
“Do you still have that money hidden somewhere? That’s a question that goes through my mind or did it really, $300,000 get spent?” Allen asked.
O’Donal did turn $15,000 back over to the food closet. She’s still on the hook for $291,000. Money that investigators have not found.