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Former School Superintendent Sentenced On Embezzlement Charges

January 18, 1989

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) _ George Sleeman, the kingpin in what is considered the most widespread case of public corruption in Vermont history, was sentenced Wednesday to a minimum of two years in jail.

Judge Francis McCaffrey sentenced the former Bennington school superintendent to jail terms of three to seven years on each count, the terms to be served concurrently, with a minimum of two years behind bars.

Sleeman, 58, was convicted last fall of eight counts of embezzlement and one count of false swearing, all stemming from allegations he used school money for personal uses.

McCaffrey ordered Sleeman to make $8,425 in restitution and to perform 1,000 hours of community service.

Prosecutors had urged McCaffrey to give Sleeman five to 10 years in jail, while Sleeman’s lawyer argued for no jail term, saying his client had suffered enough.

Sleeman was convicted of embezzling $4,285 in rent checks from two school bank accounts for building space he leased, and of lying about the rent checks during a February 1986 inquest into the Bennington school scandal.

His conviction came in the first of four trials he faces on a series of charges that were prompted by the discovery in 1984 of a $2 million deficit in the Bennington School District.

In all, Sleeman is charged with embezzling $20,000 and a car. He has yet to be tried on 21 embezzlement counts and three counts of false swearing stemming from state inquests in which he allegedly lied about his use of school funds.

Four former top-ranking school officials have been punished for their part in the scandal, though none has received jail time.

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