Buchanan caretaker jailed for stealing from blind woman

Published 9:20 am Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Buchanan woman was ordered to spend the next three months in jail after she was caught stealing money from a blind woman for whom she was providing care.

Diane Joy Hollingsworth, 43, was sentenced Monday in Berrien County Trial Court to 90 days in jail and four years probation on multiple charges related to the theft.

Diane Joy Hollingsworth

Diane Joy Hollingsworth

After apologizing to the victim, her family and the court, Hollingsworth said she made a terrible decision and that she isn’t a bad person.

Judge Angela Pasula, who imposed the sentence, said Hollingsworth is beginning to show a pattern of unlawful behavior as she has past convictions for theft and forgery.

Pasula also scolded Hollingsworth for providing a poor example for her three children.

“You are teaching your children to steal… they learn from what you do,” Pasula said. “You owe them more, you owe yourself more.”

Pasula said the victim in the case was a blind woman and that Hollingsworth was being paid to take care of the woman.

Assistant Prosecutor Cortney O’Malley said Hollingsworth’s actions were “a huge violation of trust.”

Hollingsworth was ordered to pay $1,800 in restitution to the victim.

Also Monday:

• Jeffery Allen Wilcox, 39, of Niles, was sentenced to a minimum of four years and a maximum of 10 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections on one count of criminal sexual conduct assault with intent to commit sexual penetration. Pasula said Wilcox’s case included two minor victims whom Wilcox was in a position of authority over.

• Nathan Neil Langelan, 33, of Niles, was sentenced to three years probation on one count of unlawful use of an automobile. He was also ordered to serve 180 days on an alcohol-monitoring program.

• Cameron Paul Pearison, 26, of Berrien Springs, was sentenced to four years probation and 180 days in jail on one count of operating while intoxicated as a third offense. He was also ordered to serve an additional 180 days on an alcohol-monitoring program and successfully complete the Salvation Army’s inpatient program.

• Cortney Renea Tharp, 24, of South Bend, Indiana, was sentenced to three years probation and 80 hours of community service for carrying a concealed weapon in an automobile.