By LEAH DEARBORN
PEABODY — The former president of the Peabody Youth Football and Cheering League was arraigned Friday in District Court on charges of larceny.
Jacqueline Pence resigned in October amid allegations of financial wrongdoing. The 50-year-old Peabody resident faces allegations of stealing nearly $28,000 from the league including ATM withdrawals, transfers to a personal American Express credit card account, restaurants and gas stations, according to a police report filed in Peabody District Court.
Pence entered a not guilty plea in court Friday.
Suspicions of missing cash began in September, when a tipster contacted the police to report a “theft problem” in the league, according to the report.
The reporting party, a coach within the league, and other officials had raised questions about financial matters that included lack of equipment and complaints about non-payment of organization invoices.
Marci Ridley, the league’s secretary, said in the police report that all finances were solely Pence’s responsibility and that it was “a secret” how it was done. Ridley also said that Pence would not allow anyone else to count the money from raffle tickets.
“It’s so unfortunate,” said Sean Hubauer, president of the Northeast Conference of Youth Football and Cheering. “It’s not only a blight on the league, directly or indirectly, it’s a blight on youth sports in general. It seems every year we have another person doing something similar.
“The league pulled together and helped Peabody get back on its feet … Things look bright for them. Brighter than they have in a long time. It’s unfortunate. The whole situation.”
In regards to the legal process, Hubauer said he dug into it and turned the records over to the authorities.
Pence is scheduled to return to court in January. Attempts to reach her on Friday were unsuccessful.
“l’m just trying to keep everything positive,” said Pence’s replacement within the league, Bill Woods. “My main focus is to keep everything positive and to see everything go through the proper channels.”
Leah Dearborn can be reached at [email protected]