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Longtime Ohio child support case settled

May. 22, 2013 @ 06:47 AM

IRONTON -- A criminal child support case 15 years ago that saw a local doctor flee the country and practice medicine in Saipan before former Gov. Bob Taft refused to sign an extradition order ended Tuesday. Dr. Janna Cundiff Wilgus agreed to pay more than $100,000 in back child support and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

Cundiff pleaded guilty to nonsupport of dependents and paid $35,000 in back child support. She still owes $88,236.61 in back child support and court costs.

Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Charles "Chuck" Cooper said the plea bargain ended a lengthy and torturous case that has lingered on the court docket for more than a dozen years.

Wilgus was placed on non-reporting probation for five years and ordered to pay court costs. She also received a suspended six-month jail sentence.

Former Prosecuting Attorney J.B. Collier Jr. indicted Cundiff for criminal nonsupport and subsequently asked the former Ohio governor to bring Cundiff back to Lawrence County to face criminal charges. After hearing from Cundiff that she was practicing medicine in Saipan, a small island in the Pacific, Taft refused to sign the extradition order. Collier finally dismissed the criminal charges in 2010.

However, there was an arrest warrant out for Cundiff for failing to appear in a civil court proceeding in Ironton from the child support case. After negotiating more than a year, the case was resolved this week.

As part of the court case, she is required to continue to pay $1,428 per month through her period of probation.

William D. Kennedy, an Ironton lawyer, served as special prosecutor in the case while Wilgus was represented by Frederick M. Gittes.