Van Wert County auditor, 2 deputies plead not guilty on felony charges

Crime

VAN WERT, Ohio (WANE) — Van Wert County’s auditor and two deputies in his office have pleaded not guilty of felony charges accusing them of breaking into the county treasurer’s office, hacking into a computer and tampering with records.

Auditor Philip Baxter is charged with felony breaking and entering and unauthorized use of property, along with misdemeanor intimidation.

Julienne Rolsten, a deputy county auditor, is charged with felony breaking and entering, tampering with records, and unauthorized use of property, computer, cable, or telecommunications property. Another deputy, Juliann Zinn, is charged with one count of felony breaking and entering.

A Van Wert County Grand Jury handed down the indictments last week.

According to court documents obtained by WANE 15, on May 30, a break-in happened at the Van Wert County Treasurer’s Office, inside the Van Wert County Courthouse. Rolsten and Baxter allegedly tried to gain access to computers or other devices or systems, and Rolsten was also charged with possible computer hacking, the newspaper reported.

Rolsten is also accused of “falsify, destroy, remove, conceal, alter, deface, or mutilate any writing, computer software, data, or record” … or “utter any writing or record, knowing it had been tampered with,” according to court records.

The case was assigned to a special prosecutor out of Henry County, Gwen Howe-Gebers.

Baxter, Rolsten and Zinn appeared in Van Wert County Court Wednesday morning. Each had a pre-trial conferences scheduled and each was permitted to return to work by a judge.

Neither is allowed to contact the county Treasurer’s Office, the judge ordered.

Baxter, because he is an elected official, will face a separate suspension hearing later. Prosecutors said Wednesday in open court that that hearing is in motion.

Baxter was elected in 2018 and is in his first year as Van Wert County auditor. According to the Van Wert County commissioner’s records 50-year-old Rolsten has been employed by the county since Mar. 1997. She worked in the county treasurer’s office before before becoming deputy auditor in April 2019.

Zinn, 59, worked as a state auditor from Sept. 1984 until Aug. 2014. Zinn became the county’s deputy auditor in Nov. 2014.

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