MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - During late October, Detectives from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation concerning a gun raffle conducted by a parent allegedly affiliated with “Friends of Marietta Cheer”. This organization supports young girls participating in cheerleading. A number of parents belonging to the organization were concerned about the process utilized in the sale of tickets and the selection of winners.
The investigation revealed serious discrepancies between tickets sold, money received, winners drawn, and guns distributed. Melissa Sue Phillips (Meeker), the only parent from the organization involved, was in charge of the raffle. Phillips admitted the tickets allegedly drawn were her friends and relatives. The friends and relatives were contacted, are cooperating in the investigation and had no knowledge concerning their being a winner in the raffle. Phillips advised guns for the raffle drawing had not been purchased and the prize money was currently in her possession.
The raffle tickets and money were recovered and returned to “Friends of Marietta Cheer” who have indicated another drawing will be held in the near future for those individuals who purchased a ticket. Phillips was arrested for Obstructing Official Business due to misleading officers when she was questioned throughout the interview.
She was transported to the Washington County Jail, incarcerated and then released after posting a $7,500 bond.
The investigation is ongoing and when completed will be sent to the Washington County Prosecuting Attorney for possible grand jury action.
Friends of Marietta Cheer is not affiliated with the Marietta City School system.