© 2024 KPCW

Spencer F. Eccles Broadcast Center
PO Box 1372 | 460 Swede Alley
Park City | UT | 84060
Office: (435) 649-9004 | Studio: (435) 655-8255

Music & Artist Inquiries: music@kpcw.org
News Tips & Press Releases: news@kpcw.org
Volunteer Opportunities
General Inquiries: info@kpcw.org
Listen Like a Local Park City & Heber City Summit & Wasatch counties, Utah
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Case Against Former Summit County Victim Advocate Resolved

As we have reported, the criminal case filed against a former Summit County victim advocate has been resolved. The defendant, 63-year-old Marsha Lynne Probst, entered a plea-in-abeyance deal and admitted to a charge of Attempting to Misuse Public Money.

But her defense attorney, and the prosecutors, have some disagreements about the circumstances of the case.

Defense Attorney Gail Laser wrote in an e-mail that, contrary to the charge filed by the Attorney General’s office last year, Probst did not misuse public money.

She said that Probst received funds from a private charity intended to help local victims of violence. But the charity, named as Wasatch Womenade in the complaint, never intended, she said, that the county have anything to do with administering or disbursing the funds. Laser said the president of the charity stated that in writing.

She said that Probst did not plead Guilty to an improper transaction or failing to account for the funds. But Probst agreed to a plea in abeyance to avoid a trial and put a harrowing ordeal behind her.

The attorney said that Probst had no idea that, because she worked for Summit County, the state would claim that she had to give private donations to the county. Laser added that Probst put the money into a private bank account, but not her personal account.

She said her client has “always been an upstanding member of the community who devoted years to helping victims of violence.”

In response, Assistant Attorney General for Utah Craig Peterson said Probst is a good person who made a very poor decision. He said the funds in question were public money.

“It was public money,” Peterson explained. “The donations were made to the Summit County victims assistance program. Ms. Probst was at all times, an employee of Summit County. She didn’t receive these as a private person or private individual. The donations were made to Summit County, I mean literally at the Summit County offices. Ms. Probst was there an then she took the donations and deposited them into a separate private account.”

While he also commended Wasatch Womenade, he took issue with their statement defending Probst.

“Every donation they made to Summit County victim assistance was deposited with Summit County, up until this point,” Peterson continued. “Including by Ms. Probst to the point where she started putting them into a private account, because she wanted to avoid red tape and trying to access the funds. When Ms. Probst left her job, Wasatch Womenade, when they made their donation, took it to the Summit County Victim Assistance program and gave it to them and it was properly deposited into their accounts. So no, I think this is to some degree some perception, but the reality is that the money was donated by Wasatch and others. Wasatch Womenade weren't the only ones that made donations. All of those donations were rerouted by Ms. Probst to a separate account in her name unknown to anyone at Summit County.”

Peterson said the resolution of the case was a good outcome and met the interests of justice.

Under the plea in abeyance agreement, the charges will be dismissed in a year if the defendant meets the conditions of the deal. Peterson said it’s appropriate, since the defendant had no previous criminal history and is paying restitution in full.

“This woman isn't villainous,” Peterson said. “She wasn't what you usually see when people are pilfering money. There aren't financials that are out of order, or drugs, or things of that nature. I think she was a good woman she made a very poor decision. Misused that money, as part of this agreement she has agreed within 30 days to pay full restitution.”

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
Related Content