Former teacher indicted on theft, ethics violation charges

Published 5:47 pm Monday, March 4, 2013

A former Clanton Elementary School teacher was indicted by a grand jury in February on charges relating to her use of school funds for personal matters.

Brookelyn Roper was charged with one count of theft in the first degree along with a felony ethics violation charge having to do with a person who is a public employee converting public funds for personal gains.

While conducting an annual audit of the Chilton County School System in 2012, state auditors from Montgomery discovered Roper, a former pre-kindergarten teacher, had used about $4,600 from a pre-kindergarten program account containing tuition money from parents of children in the program, according to Assistant District Attorney Brandon Bates of the 19th Judicial Circuit.

Roper will be represented by attorney William M. Dawson of Birmingham.

“We deny that she’s done anything wrong,” Dawson said Monday. “At most, it’s poor record keeping, and we expect her to be found not guilty.”

Elizabeth Crowson of the State Examiner’s Office made note of the case when she presented the Chilton County Board of Education’s audit report from Oct. 1, 2010, through Sept. 30, 2011, at a board meeting in 2012.

“She (Roper) started using funds sometime in the fall of 2010,” Bates said. “We have subpoenaed banking records. We think we can prove what it was used on, but we won’t know until we try the case.”

Bates did not release more information on Roper’s use of the school funds.

Roper’s trial date will be set by a judge at her arraignment March 7.

Chilton County Schools Superintendent Dave Hayden said in a statement, “It is both disappointing and embarrassing that this has happened. I hate to have to call the state auditors, district attorney and police department on our employees, but neither the board nor I will tolerate anyone taking funds that should be going to our students. The taxpayers can be confident that the vast majority of educators, administrators and support personnel work hard every day and are truly an asset to our community. They can also be assured that the laws that are in place to protect us all, both civil and criminal, will be followed by everyone.”