Amid Warrant Sweep, Prosecutor Launches Child Support Amnesty Program
By Mike Perleberg
A Dearborn County Sheriff’s deputy and Dearborn-Ohio County Prosecutor’s Office investigator Shane McHenry review charges with a man accused of not paying his child support in Lawrenceburg Friday morning. The arrest is part of a sweep of child support non-payment warrants. Photo by Mike Perleberg, Eagle 99.3
(Dearborn County, Ind.) – Some tri-state parents who are thousands of dollars behind in their child support payments will be spending their Labor Day weekend in jail.
Law enforcement in Dearborn and Ohio counties are conducting a child support non-payment sweep Friday. There are nearly 40 warrants to be served, with some of the alleged non-payers already behind bars. The amount they owe totals over $500,000.
One of the offenders owes $91,570. Another is nearly $58,000 behind. The others have not paid support ranging from $1,715 to $38,704.
“We want these people to know that if you owe child support, you are going to be held accountable for it at some point,” says Dearborn-Ohio County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard.
Two of the offenders were picked up as of 9:00 a.m. Paul Colen, of Rising Sun, owes $9,523 and was arrested on his warrant Friday morning. Eric Harmon, owing $4,217, was picked up by police in Florence, Kentucky on Thursday night.
Some non-payers are already behind bars on other charges. Robert Palmer – convicted earlier this year in Ohio for overdosing on heroin in a McDonald’s playground – owes $19,552. Eric May, who is in the Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center on allegations that he dealt pills and heroin with his mother in Lawrenceburg, owes $4,766.
While the prosecutor’s office is taking a hard line on parents who owe large amounts of child support, it is offering a way out of prosecution for others. Negangard is introducing a Child Support Amnesty Program.
The amnesty program won’t get the Dearborn County and Ohio County parents out of paying what they owe – full weekly payments will still be required. It will additionally require them to attend a jobs program with Indiana Work One. They will also enroll in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University or another approved program to learn the skills necessary to better manage their money.
“We think it’s an excellent tool. We’re open to a suitable alternative, but (Financial Peace University is the best program we know of out there,” says the prosecutor. “We want people to come forward and start working with us so that they can avoid prosecution.”
The Dearborn and Ohio County Prosecutor’s Office Child Support Amnesty Program is open for enrollment through the end of 2014. Parents who feel they may be falling behind in their payments should contact the prosecutor’s office at (812) 537-8884.
To the ones stating that it doesn't make sense to put a person in jail for not paying: It does make sense. I am currently in that situation and although I would MUCH rather have my children's father helping us in ANY way shape or form... he wouldn't. For years, he's been able to do what he's wanted, without paying or supporting the children... even if it meant watching them through summer break of school. He NEVER helped... at some point the amount he owed became so large (way more than $50k) that the State of Indiana took over the case. As parents, you have a responsibility to these other little human beings you brought or help bring into the world... face the facts that the responsibility of raising those children nearly never goes away. SO - I don't care if you're a mother or a father who's not helping to support your children... if they're YOURS - SUPPORT THEM! I agree with the sweep - BRING 'EM IN!!!! Book 'em - give them the tools to be more productive when they are released... and HOPEFULLY!!!!! it won't have to happen again!
@indy1 You are right, they have to fill up the new jail with people whether they are guilty or INNOCENT!!!! That is Dearborn County, one of the most corrupt counties I have ever seen.........
Makes perfect sense ! Put them in jail so they can pay off their child support... oh... wait... In jail...not working... hmm... this is our Dearborn County prosecutor at his finest ! Arrest them and force them to work at minimum wage doing county government tasks in place of spending the $200+/day to house them in a jail cell...Brilliant you say ? No... just common sense.
They have a work release program while parents are in jail for child support, therefore they are still earning money and forced to pay their support. As a mother who has been in this situation, I can testify that this works! My son's father was arrested one time and that is all it took. He may not pay on time every week, but he isn't delinquent like he was when he was arrested and for that I am grateful!