Woman Accused Of Embezzling Funds From Domestic Violence Shelter

By: Nuria Martinez-Keel | NewsOk.com

A Bartlesville woman has been indicted on charges alleging she embezzled more than $65,000 from a domestic violence and sexual assault shelter, which abruptly closed in late December.

Deanna Rachel Long, 54, was an employee of the Family Crisis and Counseling Center, which shut down in Bartlesville before Christmas last year. Founded in May 1982, the center was the only certified domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking agency in Washington and Nowata counties.

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office served as a major funding source for the shelter. The center also relied on state contracts, state grants and donations before its sudden closure.

A multicounty grand jury indicted Long on six counts of embezzlement Thursday after hearing evidence in Oklahoma City this week.

The indictment alleges she drew money from the agency’s account by fraudulently depositing or cashing checks. Investigators reportedly found that she charged thousands of dollars in personal expenses to the center’s credit card.

The attorney general’s office declined to comment on whether the alleged embezzlement caused the center to close.

Oklahoma County District Judge Timothy Henderson, who presides over the grand jury, decided the case should be prosecuted in Washington County.

Each of the four counts that allege embezzlement of more than $15,000 carry up to eight years in prison and a $10,000 fine. For embezzlement above $2,500, Long could face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, if convicted.

Three groups stepped in immediately after the Bartlesville center closed to ensure local residents had no lapse in resources, said Alex Gerszewski, spokesman for the attorney general's office. The Delaware Tribe of Indians, Ray of Hope advocacy center and the Tulsa-based Domestic Violence Intervention Services have maintained services in the area.

Gerszewski encouraged people in need of services to call the 24-hour safe line at 1-800-SAFE to be connected to an agency.

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