TRENTON, Ohio - Former Morrow police officer, Ryan Hunt appeared in court Wednesday, where he waived the right to a grand jury and allowed prosecutors to charge him directly for stealing money raised for the family of a sheriff’s deputy killed in the line of duty.
"He betrayed the profession [of being a cop] but he really betrayed a family that suffered a tragic loss and that's really difficult to deal with," said Warren County Sheriff Larry Sims.
Hunt plead to stealing money from a July 2011 golf outing he helped organize to honor Warren County sheriff’s deputy Brian Dulle, who was killed in May of that year while putting out stop sticks during a police chase.
"Ryan Hunt, a friend of theirs, was going to step up and try to help them in this way only to betray them," said Sims.
"They're willing to come out, they're willing to sweat, willing to play golf for a good cause," Hunt told 9 On Your Side in an interview on the day of the fundraiser.
The proceeds from that event were to go Dulle's widow, Abbie, and the three children he left behind, including 12-year-old Maddie, who has spent 10 of years of her young life battling cancer.
As Hunt started to plan for the second annual Dulle memorial golf outing, Warren County Sheriff Larry Sims learned the family never received the money from the first event and opened an investigation.
Abbie Dulle and at least 30 deputies stood in the courtroom as Hunt faced Warren County Common Pleas Judge James L. Flannery on Wednesday.
Special prosecutor Carol O'Brien said, "Honestly, I don't think he meant to take the money when he started the golf outing. I think it was a circumstance at that moment, he needed the money and there was money sitting there and no one was asking about it."
"He [Ryan] said one of the reasons he wanted to put the golf outing on was Brian had done so much for him, so that was devastating to me," said Ed Dulle, Brian’s father, a day before Hunt was set to appear in court. “I feel pity for the guy that would need to stoop to that level of stealing.”
Hunt also pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence in the investigation and no contest to two other counts of theft and tampering with records. The prosecution recommended no prison time for the charges. Judge Flannery agreed. Hunt's deal with prosecutors also allowed his record to be sealed sometime in the future.
The Dulle family says the support the community has shown to their family has been amazing and they hope this case doesn't overshadow the good that has been done.
"I don't want this to tarnish the beautiful things that people did, the outpouring of compassion, and generosity, for Abby and the kids and honoring Brian," said Brian's mother, Denise.
The family is asking any future donations be made to the non-profit organization Maddie's Hope , a foundation in Brian's daughter's name to fight cancer.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.