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Published: 6/6/2010

Man cleared of theft from Christian radio station

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Jack Karsten said he's been waiting for the exoneration since first being investigated for thefts at a local Christian radio station.

A Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge Friday granted the dismissal of charges against Mr. Karsten, who was contracted by the nonprofit organization to make journal entries and balance the checkbook. Two felony counts of tampering with evidence and one misdemeanor count of tampering with records were dismissed.

"The things I was accused of never happened," Mr. Karsten said after the hearing. "It's ruined my business. … I'm trying to rebuild my business, but at [age] 62, I'm running out of time."

Mr. Karsten and a co-defendant were charged with thefts from the radio station.

Richard Waldron, 63, of Genoa pleaded no contest May 5 to one count of aggravated theft. At one time the station's general manager, Waldron was found guilty of stealing about $25,000 from Maumee Valley Broadcasting Association, a radio station that broadcasts as WPOS on 102.3 FM.

He is to be sentenced June 23 by Judge Gene Zmuda. As part of a plea agreement, six counts of forgery will be dismissed and the prosecutor's office will recommend community control.

Authorities said Waldron used WPOS checks and a credit card for personal use. In particular, between January, 2004, and September, 2008, Waldron spent the station's money on personal expenses including travel, food, and retail purchases, authorities said.

He also wrote checks to himself and was paying himself more for health insurance than he was entitled.

The thefts were discovered when board members began examining the station's finances.

Mr. Karsten was initially accused of facilitating those thefts by altering the records. After additional information was made available, the state dropped the charges.

"Further investigation raised some evidentiary issues such that the state did not believe it could meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt," Assistant Prosecutor Jevne Meader said. "For these reasons, the state is requesting the dismissal of charges."

Mr. Karsten said he has received a lot of support from his family and members of the Christian community and hopes to put the situation behind him and rebuild his business.

"I don't understand why I was painted in this light," he said of the members of the radio station where he was a contracted employee. He added that he initially planned to go to trial on the charges because he wanted the acknowledgment that "they made a mistake."

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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