Director Of Greek Life Indicted, Awaiting Trial

In late April, as classes were ending for the semester, a Jefferson County grand jury indicted Libby Shanton, the director of Greek life, on 54 counts related to fraudulent use of her state-issued purchasing card. Shanton is accused of making personal purchases in excess of $85,000. The purchasing card was to be used only for work related expenses. Shepherd University’s President, Dr. Suzanne Shipley, contacted campus faculty and staff April 19, via e-mail, to explain the investigation which led to Shanton’s indictment. Once irregularities were spotted, “the University immediately contacted the State Auditor’s Office.” The auditor’s office assigned Tim Butler to investigate the case, along with Steve Staton of the Commission on Special Investigations. No date was available for the beginning of the investigation. The indictment listed many of the items Shanton allegedly purchased, including cigars, NFL clothing, jewelry and rides with a limousine service. The purchases were spread out over six states, including West Virginia, Delaware, Georgia and California. In 2012, a $2,304 bill was run up at a Marriott hotel in New York City. Among the charges listed, the New York City hotel bill was the most expensive. Although the Sheriff of Jefferson County, Pete Dougherty, did not have any direct involvement in the case, he did indicate he has seen similar cases over the years. As a former Congressional staffer, Jefferson County Magistrate, and United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs official, Dougherty has a great familiarity with purchasing cards and the danger they pose. “Lots of times good people are tempted and temptation wins over,” he said.While not offering a defense for Shanton, he did indicate many of those accused of abusing purchasing cards think it will be a one time purchase and that they will quickly pay it back. It then turns into a downward spiral. President Shipley’s e-mail also indicated Shepherd was cited for “failing to have in place adequate reviews to determine whether a purchase is appropriate.” The University immediately remedied the problem and now requires a supervisor’s signature for all purchases made with a purchasing card. With this new measure in place, it will certainly be more difficult for an individual to misappropriate funds. Due to Shanton’s former position as director of Greek life, many students were hesitant to comment about the charges until settled in court. One student, who wished to remain anonymous, was surprised at the accusations lodged against Shanton. The source was also very concerned that whether she is found guilty or not, the scandal will tarnish the image of Greek organizations on campus. As of the print deadline, a trial is still pending in Jefferson County Circuit Court.

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