Ex-Bethany College worker appears in Brooke court

WELLSBURG – The case of former Bethany College employee Shelly Lough was bound over for consideration by the next grand jury Thursday after Lough waived her preliminary hearing in Brooke County Magistrate Court.

Lough, 46, of Wheeling, turned herself in to law enforcement last week on allegations she embezzled more than $500,000 while working at the college’s cashier’s office. She has been charged with embezzlement and falsifying accounts.

On Thursday, Lough and her attorney, public defender F. William Brogan, appeared in front of Magistrate Robin Snyder. Brogan informed Snyder his client wished to waive the hearing.

Lough remains free on $5,000 bond. The next session of the Brooke County grand jury meets on Nov. 4.

Investigators are also targeting two local Ohio residents in connection with the alleged embezzlement. Brooke County Prosecutor Joe Barki did not know if the investigation into those suspects will be complete by the time the grand jury meets next month.

Lough reportedly told a Brooke County sheriff’s detective she embezzled the money from the college between July 2011 and May to pay two individuals who threatened to reveal sexually explicit photos of her.

“Miss Lough stated that she was extorted by these two individuals, as they had in their possession, photos and text messages that were sexually explicit in nature, and threatened to provide the said texts and photos to Miss Lough’s husband if she did not pay their cash demands,” court filings state.

Lough was employed at the college’s cashier’s office and was solely responsible for the “cash window,” where students and staff cashed payroll and personal checks.

She allegedly stole cash from the office, then falsified accounts to hide the thefts.

The college discovered the missing money in May during an external audit.