A former employee of a rural Cozad church was sentenced Monday to three years of probation following her conviction of felony theft. Candice Hasbrouck, 34 of Cozad, had taken more than $46,000 from St. John’s Lutheran Church from a period of 2009 through 2016 while she was treasurer there. Buffalo County Attorney Shawn Eatherton was appointed special prosecutor in the case. At the sentencing in Dawson County District Court, Eatherton said Hasbrouck admitted to her crimes and made efforts to make it right with her former employer and “that doesn’t happen all the time.” He described her as an appropriate candidate for probation but, “that doesn’t make everything O.K.” He asked for a period of incarceration at the end of probation that could be waived if probation was successfully completed.
Defense Attorney Justin Herrmann said Hasbrouck had no prior criminal history, other than traffic offense, is a full-time employee, is very remorseful and very sorry for her actions. He added that Hasbrouck “took significant steps to do what she could to right the wrong to the extent she could.” Hasbrouck has already repaid the missing amount of $46,109.37 in full.
Judge Jim Doyle sentenced Hasbrouck to three years of probation. He noted that restitution has been paid in full and ordered the Clerk of the District Court to distribute those funds to St. John’s Lutheran Church. She was also ordered to submit a letter of apology to the congregation. Hasbrouck was also sentenced to a 90 day jail term at the end probation that could be waived upon successful completion of probation. Several congregants also attended the hearing.