Charge dismissed against Melvern school teacher; wife gets diversion, pays restitution

LYNDON – A felony charge of misuse of public funds filed against a former USD 456 school teacher has been dismissed, while his wife, a former Marais des Cygnes Valley High School secretary, has entered into a diversion agreement that requires restitution of $8,000 to the Marais des Cygnes Valley Recreation Commission.

Donald D. Dyke, 41, and Keri B. Dyke, 38, both of Melvern, were arrested in December by Melvern City Marshal Kenen Martinez on charges of theft and forgery, with Martinez alleging the two had stolen funds from the Marais des Cygnes Valley Recreation Commission. On Jan. 14, both were charged in Osage County District Court with one count each of misuse of public funds of more than $1,000 but less than $25,000, a severity level 9 nonperson felony.

In an order issued March 5, 2015, by Osage County Magistrate Judge Taylor Wine, the charge against Donald Dyke was dismissed without prejudice. The same day, a diversion agreement between Osage County Attorney Brandon Jones and Keri Dyke was filed. The diversion requires that Keri Dyke reimburse the recreation commission in the amount of $8,000, and admit facts contained in the arrest affidavit filed by Martinez.

In the affidavit, Martinez says he began investigating the case Dec. 7 after a receiving a report of theft from members of the recreation commission. According to court documents, Keri Dyke served as treasurer of the commission and Donald Dyke was employed as executive director.

Martinez reported that his investigation revealed a series of checks written by Keri Dyke to Donald Dyke totaled more than the set annual salary of the executive director. The affidavit also alleged the Dykes had submitted false claims, receiving payment of $300 for balls and bats and $350 for T-shirts without proof of receipts. Martinez’s report said that some of the checks had not been listed on the commission’s monthly treasurer’s report in an attempt to disguise illegitimate reimbursement, and some checks were written in a manner to disguise previous payments.

The affidavit indicated that through the period investigated, February 2014 to August 2014, Donald Dyke had received $3,100 more than the set annual salary of $2,000, plus the payments for equipment.

According to USD 456 Superintendent Darrel Finch, Donald Dyke had been a math teacher at Marais des Cygnes Valley Middle School for 14 years, and was placed on administrative leave in December following his arrest. Finch said that during a Feb. 9, 2015, meeting of the USD 456 Board of Education, the board approved a separation agreement with Dyke and he was no longer employed at the school. Finch said details of the settlement agreement approved by the board were confidential.

Finch also confirmed that Keri Dyke had resigned from her position as high school secretary at a Dec. 15 special meeting of the school board. He said she had been employed at the school for at least six years.

Osage County Court Clerk Charna Williams confirmed this week that Keri Dyke has paid the reimbursement amount of $8,000. She was also required to pay $193 in court costs, $35 fingerprinting fee, and $250 diversion fee. The diversion agreement period is 24 months, during which time Keri Dyke must not violate any laws and is prohibited from employment in a public office or a position dealing with the finances, bookkeeping, or income of a business. Successful fulfillment of the diversion agreement will result in dismissal of the charge against her.

On March 24, Donald Dyke filed a petition to expunge record of his arrest in the case, citing that expungement would be in the best interests of justice, and charges have been dismissed or no charges have been or are likely to be filed.

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