Former Chester County sheriff and boyfriend, a former deputy, charged with theft

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A former Chester County sheriff and her live-in boyfriend, a former deputy, have been charged with theft after a lengthy investigation by Pennsylvania’s attorney general.

Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh, who is now retired, and former deputy Harry McKinney each face theft charges — both misdemeanors — for taking donation money for the office’s K-9 unit and using it for their dog’s vet, grooming and boarding bills, the attorney general said.

According to the affidavit, Welsh promoted her boyfriend McKinney to an “honorary” position as lieutenant and put him in charge of the K-9 unit, which is not funded by the county.

Welsh then allowed other deputies and employees to take comp time for volunteering at fundraising events.

In a statement, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said “the blatant misappropriation of funds is unacceptable.”

Welsh’s attorney, Geoff Johnson, noted the comp time was for “deputies to work on charitable efforts, which was to the benefit of the sheriff’s office.”

“Harry is committed to working through the problem, dealing with the charges that we have been anticipating for 15 months,” McKinney’s attorney, Robert Donatoni, said.

The two were arraigned and released on their own recognizance with a preliminary hearing scheduled for next month.