SALISBURY — Middlebury College faculty member Kateri Carmola pleaded “no contest” to an embezzlement charge in Addison County District Court on July 11 for allegedly siphoning $4,500 from the Salisbury Historical Society during a three-month period last year.
Addison County District Court Judge Nancy Corsones agreed to the proposed 18-month deferred sentence for Carmola, a tenured associate professor of political philosophy at the college. Addison County State’s Attorney David Fenster said Carmola was placed on probation and can have her record expunged at the end of that 18-month period if she commits no further offenses.
Carmola has no previous criminal record.
“It’s a fair sentence, under the circumstance,” said Fenster.
Carmola, 45, had been charged with one count of felony embezzlement early this year following a Vermont State Police Investigation of her conduct as treasurer of the Salisbury Historical Society in 2010.
Carmola was alleged to have made a total of 11 withdrawals from the Salisbury Historical Society’s savings account last summer to pay personal expenses associated with some Middlebury College-related trips.
Court records indicate Carmola allegedly made 11 transfers ranging from $200 to $1,000 between July 6 and Sept. 8, 2010.
Salisbury Historical Society President Barry Whitney told authorities he had noticed a major accounting discrepancy in the organization’s records while making a bank deposit last fall. Whitney told police that he had checked with bank officials and traced the missing money to Carmola, who was one in a small circle of people with access to the account.
Salisbury Historical Society funds cannot be spent without consent of the full board.
The board immediately called an emergency meeting upon learning of the missing funds. Carmola showed up at that meeting, explained why she had used the funds, then wrote a check to cover the balance owed and resigned from the board, according to Whitney.
VSP Trooper Joseph Szarejko investigated the case.
“I … spoke with Carmola and she advised that she did in fact take the money out of the historical society’s bank account because she did not have enough money to fund her expenses,” Szarejko wrote in his court affidavit. “Carmola advised that she transferred the money out of the historical society’s account and into hers so that she could pay for her airfare and other expenses for the trips.”
State police officially cited Carmola for embezzlement on Dec. 23, 2010. Addison County State’s Attorney David Fenster decided on Jan. 26 to prosecute the case. Carmola originally pled innocent to the charge in District Court on Feb. 7.
Middlebury College Public Affairs Director Sarah Ray said Carmola continues to work at the college.
“We are reviewing the information from the court proceedings but we will have no further comment at this time,” Ray said late last week in an e-mail response to Carmola’s employment status.
Reporter John Flowers is at email@example.com.