Stealing Money Was a Way to Cope

Mary Taylor, 47, of Barboursville was sentenced Tuesday to 1-10 years in prison during a hearing in Cabell County Circuit Court.  

Before her sentence, Taylor read a statement to the judge and court. "I want to start by apologizing to all that have been betrayed by any actions. I'd also like to tell my story as to what led to this."

Taylor says that while she was an employee at the department, she was forced into a sexual relationship with a firefighter. She says she stole the money as a way of coping.

"When I had threatened him that if it did not stop, I would report it. His reply was that it was his word against mine and the department would back him. That he would report me to the chiefs for not doing my job. I mentioned that I would bring a harassment suit against the department. He said everyone would think I was a terrible person for suing a volunteer fire department. The actions I took made me a terrible person anyway," Taylor said.

Taylor said she wished she could blame someone for her actions, but the only person to blame is herself. But she also told the court if the sexual abuse wouldn't have happened, she would not have stolen the money. "I do feel that had it not happened to me, the sexual abuse and all, that none of this would have happened."

Taylor asked to be sentenced to probation and said she would pay back back the money. The prosecution asked for a stiffer sentence, saying this embezzlement put safety of the residents of Barboursville and Cabell County at risk. They also said she had the ability to stop her actions at any time, but chose not to.

Ferguson said that the longest probation sentence he could give her would be five years and it would not be possible for her to pay back $91,000 in that amount of time.

Ferguson said, as with many embezzlement cases, "This is a calculated crime. It doesn't happen just one time. They start, take a little bit and they keep going."

Judge Ferguson asked Taylor why she just didn't quit her job. She said it was because of the mental shape she was in at the time. His response was, "you had enough mental capacity to steal."

Ferguson said Taylor did not show remorse, and blamed everyone around her for her actions. He then sentenced her to 1-10 years in prison.

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