Dalton town clerk acquitted of taking $100, police never checked if money was missing





LANCASTER – In a case that her attorney said
afterward never should have been brought to trial, longtime Dalton Town
Clerk Sandy York was acquitted late Monday on a misdemeanor charge of
taking money from town funds.

After listening to three hours of
testimony and watching a security video tape that appeared to show York
putting cash in her pocketbook, Lancaster District Court Judge Paul D.
Dejardans declared that the state had failed to prove its case. He found
York not guilty as a group of her family and other supporters broke
into applause.

The charge was brought by Dalton Police Chief
Mario Audit. His department lieutenant, Chris St. Cyr –- who is not an
attorney –- served as prosecutor.

The department’s case appeared
to be in trouble almost from the outset. Under questioning by York’s
attorney, Leonard Harden, Audit admitted that he had not bothered to
find out whether any money was actually missing from the town funds. He
also testified that neither he nor any other town officials had ever
questioned York on the charge, and never gave her the opportunity to
explain her actions on the videotape of last Aug. 9.

witnesses testified that it had long been York’s habit to take cash and
either go to a bank herself, of have others make a bank run for her to
replenish her office’s cash supply, particularly in the small
denominations needed to make change.

Harden told Dejardans that’s
also what she did on Aug. 9, after she closed for the day, and later
brought the register cash back to her office.

A Dalton tax
collector and deputy town clerk who worked with York for 14 years
testified that the cash drawer was full and in the proper denominations,
as usual, when she came to work on the first business day after York’s
Aug. 9 shift.

Outside the courthouse as darkness fell, Harden
said York -– who did not testify and has refused public comment
throughout –- had been put through a miserable and needless four-month
public ordeal since her arrest.

“This case never should have been
brought to trial. No crime was ever committed. It’s been an agonizing
process for Sandy. They call it a trial and that’s just what it is,” he

It was not clear late Monday whether York, an elected town
officer with more than three decades on the job, would return as
Dalton’s clerk or retire. She has been on leave since being charged.

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