By Brenna Kelly
Gales Creek, OR (KPTV) — A long-time executive director at a popular summer camp for children with diabetes has been accused of embezzling nearly $70,000 from the camp.
Gales Creek Camp serves children with Type 1 diabetes, so it came as a shock to many that their director, Cheryl Sheppard, would be accused of taking advantage of the non-profit foundation.
Camp officials said Sheppard resigned shortly after the financial irregularities were discovered in 2016 by board members of the foundation.
She was in court Thursday and faces 25 felony charges of theft and computer crime.
Court documents show prosecutors are charging Sheppard with stealing at least $67,000 from the Gales Creek Camp Foundation.
Though the case has been drawn out, Rob Dailey, the camp’s new executive director, told FOX 12 the organization has moved on.
“It was painful. It was painful for a lot of people, that that kind of behavior would happen in an organization that was built on trust,” Dailey said. “Just a lot of hurt and absolute shock because these kids and the families are already dealing with a lot.”
A former nurse at the organization, who didn’t want to be identified, said nothing seemed out of the ordinary with her boss.
“It does seem amazing that this could go on for so long without it being noticed. And makes it really heartbreaking that Cheryl, who, obviously, we believed really cared about this organization, about the work and the kids who come there, that she would take away from that. It is really, incredibly sad,” the nurse said. “It really is very sad and distressing that someone would take advantage of an organization that is pretty much volunteer-based.”
According to court documents, Sheppard is being charged with theft dating back to February of 2015. Though Sheppard is only being charged with thefts happening between 2015 and 2016, Dailey said the embezzlement went on for longer.
He called the embezzlement a major setback but believes it didn’t impact campers at all.
“We certainly had to reprioritize some projects. As a camp that’s over 65 years old, and our property is in need of maintenance, upgrades, it’s just a routine thing,” Dailey explained. “We certainly had to reprioritize some of those maintenance items. But it hasn’t affected camp or the safety of camp or the quality of camp at all.”
Dailey told FOX 12 both the camp and the foundation are stronger because of what happened and have since adopted stricter fiscal policies.
Sheppard is due for her next hearing in April.