Van Wert County Auditor acquitted of all charges

Local News

VAN WERT, OH. (WANE) — Van Wert County’s auditor was acquitted of all charges during his jury trial this week, after being accused of breaking into the county treasurer’s office and tampering with records.

County Auditor Philip Baxter was charged last year with felony breaking and entering, misdemeanor intimidation, and a felony count of unauthorized use of property, computer, cable, or telecommunication property.

According to court documents obtained by WANE 15, on May 30, 2019, a break-in happened at the Van Wert County Treasurer’s Office, inside the Van Wert County Courthouse. Deputy County auditor Julienne 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.

Back in November, Baxter and the two deputies in his office pleaded not guilty to the charges accusing them of breaking into the county treasurer’s office, hacking into a computer and tampering with records.

Baxter’s jury trial started Monday. By Tuesday afternoon, after the state rested its case, Judge Timothy Campbell ruled that there was not sufficient evidence for a jury to make a motion and acquitted Baxter on all three charges.

Deputy Juliann Zinn also faced felony charges of breaking and entering, but both Zinn and Rolsten made a deal with the state in exchange for their testimony. Rolston pleaded guilty to criminal trespass, a misdemeanor, and resigned from the county Auditor’s Office and can never be re-employed by Van Wert County. Zinn’s charges were dismissed, but she agreed to resign from the County Auditor Office and never be re-employed by Van Wert County.

Baxter was first elected in 2018 and is now in his second year as Van Wert County auditor. He is allowed to finish his term which will end Jan. 1 2023.

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