Her attorney Bret Jordan explained that Hopkins’ addiction drove her to steal, and that she has received eight weeks of inpatient treatment and signed up for a job development program as part of a new job she was slated to start on Tuesday, Cleveland.com reported. She even gave Jordan $5,000 to start repaying her debt, the attorney said. Hopkins wasn’t given the opportunity to correct her actions, and was sentenced on Aug. 3. “I want to pay the Maple Heights city students back,” she told the judge before her fate was decided. “I’m so sorry to Maple Heights City Schools for not living up to the trust that they entrusted in me. I had a lot of friends there. I’m so sorry to them all.”
The judge told Hopkins: “I understand and am grateful you’re going on a journey to better yourself, but I think even your pastor would agree there has to be some consequence for your actions.”
Debbie Bosworth, a white woman, was able to avoid harsher consequences for what The Root writer Michael Harriot classified as the same crime. She was sentenced to probation on Aug. 2 by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Hollie Gallagher for embezzling more than five times the amount of Hopkins’ theft. Bosworth stole almost $250,000, Cleveland.com reported.
Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Edward Brydle pushed for Bosworth to be sent to prison, reading a letter from Chagrin Falls Mayor William Tomko, who wrote that her actions caused a “tremendous loss of trust.” “Paying back the money you stole, losing your pension and bringing shame on you and your family are natural consequences of her crimes,” Brydle said. “None of those things are actual punishments for her crimes.”
Her sentence, however, should come as no surprise to anyone even partially paying attention to how the criminal justice system works in America.
“And in the history of America, there isn’t one documented case of a “Hollie” sending a “Debbie” to prison (yes, we actually checked),” Harriot wrote. “So, Gallagher, citing the fact that Bosworth paid back some of the money she stole, sentenced her fellow white woman to two years probation, much to the chagrin of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley, who issued a statement saying he found the sentence ‘to be unacceptable in that he believes public employees who steal from taxpayers should go to prison.’”
Not when they’re white, O’Malley. Not when they’re white.