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Published: Thursday, 3/13/2003

Preacher Lake wins early prison release

Charles “Slim” Lake, a self-proclaimed Toledo street preacher convicted of loan sharking in 2001, was granted shock probation yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

However, Judge Charles Doneghy sternly warned Lake that he would be monitored closely with no forgiveness for any violations.

Tom Matuszak, an assistant county prosecutor, objected to the granting the probation.

“You've got his attention, and he is willing to abide by any [restrictions] the court is willing to make,” said Lake's attorney, Richard L. Roberts, Sr. “He knows the type of behavior the court will not tolerate.”

Judge Doneghy said he was willing to grant the probation even though Lake participated little in rehabilitation programs while incarcerated.

He ordered Lake to spend the next four months in a supervised work-release program. If Lake completes that successfully, he will be put on supervised release during which probation officers would report back bimonthly to the judge on Lake's activities.

Mr. Matuszak said after the hearing he believes granting Lake shock probation is a waste of time because of his previous record. “He's had a number of felony convictions,” Mr. Matuszak said. “It's only a matter of time before we're back here putting him in prison again.”

A handful of Lake supporters sat in the audience during the brief hearing. One said Lake's followers will welcome him back with open arms.

“We're very happy,” Mamie Sherman, a friend of Lake, said. “Reverend Lake has a lot of love in his heart. ... He has helped a lot of people.”

In November, 2001, Judge Doneghy convicted Lake of two counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. He received an additional year in prison for violating community control on a 1997 conviction for trafficking in food stamps.

He was arrested in June 7, 2000, after demanding $10,000 for full payment on a $6,000 loan made to a woman a year earlier.



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