KENOSHA -- A Kenosha principal faces a felony charge after allegedly taking and using school equipment to furnish her church and home daycare.
Cherise Easley was charged Thursday and could face up to 3 and a half years behind bars if found guilty.
“I’m just shocked," Lavonda Mathis said.
According to the criminal complaint, the superintendent of the school district is the one who reported Easley to police after more than a $1,000 worth of items from the school went missing —police then launched a property theft investigation in the fall of 2017.
“I’m just surprised," Mathis said.
"And I feel bad for her because I know she’s a good woman," she continued.
Lavonda Mathis lives near the school and is also acquainted with Easley. Easley was placed on leave after police launched a property theft investigation and charged her with felony misconduct in office for allegedly taking school property for personal use.
“I feel bad that she has been charged for something like this," Mathis reiterated.
"Taking something from the school and using it for something like that," she continued.
According to the criminal complaint, Easley took a whiteboard (valued at $327), a podium (valued at $246), along with a laptop computer, and a projector from the school to use at the church she ran with her husband.
The complaint reads:
"KUSD officials report that the laptop had been signed out to the defendant for school use on November 20, 2014 and the projector found in the defendant’s church had been signed out to the defendant for school use [on] September 11, 2014, but never returned."
The complaint also alleges Easley took a keyboard, a stand, and a bench (valued at about $350) and a large play kitchen set with a replacement value of nearly $700 —those items were used at the daycare she ran from her home.
"I know it could've been used for something worse. It’s not like I’m justifying what she was doing because I know it was wrong because it’s the school’s property," she continued.
The statement KUSD sent Friday to the TODAY'S TMJ4 Newsroom reads:
"Kenosha Unified takes personnel issues very seriously. If issues of any nature arise, the district quickly investigates and involves law enforcement when necessary. Due to this being a personnel issue, the district cannot provide further details regarding the individual or situation."
The district also confirmed Easley is on unpaid leave. Easley is expected to appear in court next week.