- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) - A group of northeast Kansas children is scrambling to come up with money to fund a trip to Colorado after a trusted adult was accused of stealing thousands of dollars from their travel fund.

Glen Irwin was charged last week with felony theft after roughly $10,000 was found to be missing from the Geary County Children’s Choir’s bank account, the Junction City Daily Union (https://bit.ly/1k15Km5 ) reported. Irwin used to be the choir’s business manager.

The choir had been selling candy bars and performing around Junction City to raise money for the trip to Colorado Springs, Colo., scheduled for after the end of the school year.

“It’s a shock to the kids because they spent a lot of hours fundraising,” said Greg Gooden, director of the children’s choir. “It’s sad someone would take money from children. That’s really what he did.”

The complaint filed Thursday accuses Irwin - who was a member of the fundraising committee for three years and served as business manager for one - of stealing money between Jan. 1, 2012, and June 8, 2013.

The total cost of the trip is $35,000. The choir was unable to make the first payment of more than $8,000 in January because of the theft. The choir now must make a double payment to the tour company in February.

“Prior to Christmas vacation, we noticed there was money missing and I questioned him through emails and texts,” Gooden said. “He finally agreed to meet with us and he lied to us.”

Gooden said Irwin claimed to need the money for liver cancer, but that turned out to be untrue.

Irwin is being represented by the public defender’s office in Junction City, which declined to comment Tuesday morning.

Gooden said he was told the money would be replaced, with interest, by Jan. 13, but that never happened.

“We may get some of that back with restitution, but that may be a long process,” he said.

Meanwhile, the 60 choir members continue rehearsing and are scheduled to perform in February for the Kansas Music Educators Association. In addition to fundraising, each child already paid $250 for the trip.

“We’re going to go on and make the best we can out of this situation,” Gooden said.


Information from: The (Junction City, Kan.) Daily Union, https://www.dailyu.com

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