I have no problem with the Neosho Daily News leading its story on embezzler Melanie Feagans' sentencing today by saying, "Three Neosho organizations will see stolen funds refunded to them in the very near future."
That's a positive way of looking at it. I have no doubt the Oakwood Cemetery Association, South School PTO and the Neosho Wildcat Booster Club could use the repayment of the thousands of dollars, Ms. Feagans stole from them.
I probably would have stressed the information in the second paragraph of the Daily's story. "On Friday, Melanie Feagans received a suspended sentence of three years in state prison and was given five years supervised probation."
She will have to repay $46,000. This isn't a woman who had a momentary lapse and grabbed a handful of cash to meet an immediate obligation, something which would still be wrong, but would be understandable. This is a woman who systematically robbed grieving widows, elementary schoolchildren, and high school athletes.
Some will ask, "What good would it do to send her to prison? If that happened, the three organizations would never be paid back?" There is a great deal of truth to that, but I ask, "If the only risk involved in stealing thousands is that you will have to pay back, why should anyone be deterred from dipping their hands into the till?"
I would have preferred at least a couple of years in prison, and then make her pay back the money, or at least a few months of shock time.