Ex-clerk uses breastfeeding to avoid jail time, until now

EATON, Ohio (WDTN) – A woman convicted of stealing money from the Village of Gratis successfully avoided jail, until now.

Serrer Phillips avoided 90 days in jail after an October conviction for theft in office.  Her reason? She was breastfeeding.

A judge agreed at the time to delay the jail time.

Prosecutors argued Tuesday that she also worked to avoid jail by “forging a doctor’s note.”  Monday a Preble County grand jury indicted Phillips on felony forgery.

Preble County Judge David Abruzzo decided Tuesday that it is time she start serving, but he did break up the sentence.

Phillips will spend 10 days in jail at a time with a five day break at home in between until she reaches the full 90 day sentence.

The judge mentioned the 30-year-0ld Phillips’s three children as reason to break up the sentence.

Phillips told the court she borrowed money from family members to make restitution.  She owed the Village of Gratis $35,000.  The prosecutor believes she was trying to buy her way out of jail by paying the full amount now instead of continuing with payments.

Martin Votel, Preble County Prosecutor, told 2 NEWS Investigates: I’ve not been involved in a case like this before where a defendant’s personal circumstances of this nature were used to her benefit.

Pam Elliot: And she got away with it, right?

Martin Votel: Well she’s going to be serving a 90-day sentence, but she’s going to be doing so under circumstances much more comfortable to her and her family.

Phillips has been ordered to report to jail Sunday, March 9 to start her sentence for the theft.


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