November 12, 2013

Maine woman pleads not guilty to stealing from wrestling boosters

Wendi Willette of Winslow is accused of taking between $10,000 and $30,000.

By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling / Morning Sentinel

A former treasurer of a wrestling booster club pleaded not guilty Tuesday to stealing thousands of dollars from the Winslow group.

Wendi Willette, 41, of Winslow, who was accused of stealing between $10,000 and $30,000, entered the not guilty plea and applied for a court-appointed defense attorney in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta Tuesday morning, according to Maeghan Maloney, district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Maloney said attorneys will hold a status conference to discuss the charges on Dec. 10.

In early October, Willette was charged with felony theft after a month-long investigation that was begun when members of the Winslow High School Wrestling Boosters Club reported that they suspected Willette had stolen the money, according to Winslow Police Chief Jeff Fenlason.

On Oct. 9, shortly after Willette was charged, then wrestling Coach Kevin Fredette said he was fired from his positions as wrestling coach at Winslow High School and assistant football coach at Winslow Junior High.

School officials wouldn’t comment on the reason the district and Fredette parted ways, but Fredette said it was because he “expressed frustration” with critics of the club.

Willette has been convicted twice of negotiating a worthless instrument, a crime that often describes passing bad checks, in late 2003 and early 2004.

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