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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Library director expected to enter no-contest plea

---Underage drinking citations issued a year ago

By Kayla Bunge/Janesville Gazette

A library director accused of providing alcohol to minors at two underage drinking parties in May of 2007 is only halfway through her fight against the 31 citations.

Bobbi Sorrentino, 47, director of the Walworth Memorial Library, was found guilty May 5 in Walworth County Court of six counts of providing alcohol to minors.

Ten counts of providing alcohol to minors were dismissed, and Sorrentino pleaded no contest to the remaining six counts.

She will pay a $248 fine for each citation.

In an e-mail to The Janesville Gazette, Sorrentino said she and her family just got caught up in "an unusual circumstance."

"This has been an issue that I would never like to relive," Sorrentino wrote.

Her attorney, Stephen Kramer, said the dismissal of 10 counts was part of a "reasonable" agreement between the defense and the prosecution that prevented a drawn-out trial.

He said Sorrentino wanted to move on and focus again on her family and her work at the library.

But while her case in Walworth County Court has been resolved, 15 counts of providing alcohol to minors are pending in Fontana Municipal Court.

Sorrentino's next appearance is June 26.

Kramer said Sorrentino likely will plead no contest to the municipal counts.

Fontana police issued 15 tickets and the Walworth County Sheriff's Department issued 16 tickets for underage drinking parties held near her home May 4 and May 18, respectively.

Police issued one ticket for each underage person at the parties.

Most of the juveniles were students at Big Foot High School.

Kramer said the charges against Sorrentino had no reflection on her job performance as library director.

Library board President Linda Freeman said the board is pleased with her job performance.

"She does a fine job," she said.

Sorrentino said she's learned a lesson from the incidents.

"Maybe that lesson is simply that parents are always learning, always teaching and always trying to make (their) children the best they can be through trial and error," she wrote in an e-mail.

"This whole ordeal was not a mistake or bad choice but rather an average, normal family that got caught up in an unusual circumstance."

Sorrentino started as a librarian in Walworth in 1999

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