Senior Center raided by state investigators

The director of the Adams County Senior Citizens Center in West Union is being investigated by Ohio’s State Auditor and Attorney General on suspicion that she may have exploited some of the center’s clients.

Last week The People’s Defender received an anonymous tip that Melody Stapleton of West Union was the subject of an investigation by multiple state agencies.

When contacted by the Defender, Stapleton denied any knowledge of an investigation or of a possible arrest.

However, Tuesday morning, Aug. 18, the facility was raided and the focus of the raid was fixed on director Stapleton.

West Union Police Chief Roy Stricklett escorted the state investigators to the facility where the warrant was issued and the search began.

Investigators searched in-house files then accompanied Stapleton to a storage facility near her home. They searched several storage units which she had leased.

Although no charges have been filed, the Senior Center’s Board met on Thursday, Aug. 20, and voted to put Stapleton on paid leave for 30 days pending a review. If charges are filed they would be brought by either the Attorney General or the State Auditor and passed on to the Adams County Grand Jury.

Unsuspecting board members expressed shock at the events unfolding around them.

They affirmed that their primary concern was for their clients security and safety. Acting director, Mary Stout, told the Defender that there will be no interruptions in the services the center provides to its clients.

The senior facility is an indispensable support system for many of Adams County’s senior citizens. They provide a broad range of health care and support services to assist their clients with the essential activities of daily living.

A number of changes were instituted by the board after Stapleton was removed.

According to Diane Dryden, acting assistant director of the Senior Center, an open board meeting will be held this Friday at 10 a.m. at the center. The public is invited to attend.

As of press time, no charges have been brought against Stapleton.

Director suspected of taking unfair advantage of clients

By Patricia Beech