HIGHLAND HEIGHTS (FOX19) - A former Northern Kentucky University athletic director stood before a judge Thursday accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the university.
Scott Eaton was let go in March of 2013 for having inappropriate relationships with four NKU employees and one adult student. An investigation by the Kentucky Attorney General's office found Eaton stole $311,215 from the school's athletic fund for personal use.
Attorney General Jack Conway says Eaton purchased Kroger gift cards with his university credit card and then purchased items for his own personal use. The amount totaled $262,106. He also bought items directly with the university credit card that totaled $32,919 among other unlawful purchases.
Thursday, Eaton agreed to a plea deal. He will serve 10 years in prison and repay the money he stole from NKU. He pled guilty to one count of theft by unlawful taking.
"He's not happy about the situation obviously but happy to begin the process of healing," said Eaton's attorney Benjamin G. Dusing.
"The unconscionable behavior of Mr. Eaton is unacceptable and I believe the punishment fits the crime," says Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.
While the university maintains they discovered the theft through an audit, Eaton's attorney says his client admitted it. Either way, NKU says they are glad all of this is over.
"We have put this matter behind us and are grateful with the attorney general's assistance, that this matter will now be completely concluded," says President Geoffrey Mearns.
Conway says the money Eaton stole equals the cost of tuition for 40 students at NKU and is larger than most yearly budgets for the largest programs at the university.
Eaton will be in court at noon May 20 for his sentencing.