Four years on, ex-Litchfield principal competent to stand trial for embezzlementBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
February 08. 2018 9:19PM
NASHUA — The former principal accused of embezzling money from the St. Francis of Assisi School has been deemed competent to stand trial more than four years after her arrest.
Shannon Dannible, 40, of Amesbury, Mass., faces 7½ to 15 years in prison if convicted of felony unauthorized taking or transfer in connection with the alleged embezzlement. She has been free on bail since her arrest in 2013.
Investigators allege Dannible stole $152,468 from the Catholic school’s bank accounts by issuing herself checks, withdrawing cash for herself and directing school funds to pay off personal debts during her four years as administrator at the school from 2007 to 2011.
Over the past four years, questions about Dannible’s mental health and competency have been raised by attorneys and the court system. This week, Judge Jacalyn Colburn at Hillsborough County Superior Court ruled Dannible is now competent to stand trial.
“In fact, it appears that the defendant’s most severe symptoms present themselves at the most convenient times,” she said.
The judge wrote that Dannible has claimed a lack of memory about the theft, which allegedly took place over a period of several years.
“All of this suggests that the defendant is not simply exaggerating her symptoms, but rather is manipulating her family, her doctors, her attorneys and the court in order to avoid the consequences of her actions,” ruled Colburn.
The judge went on to say that Dannible has a reasonable degree of rational understanding, can work with her attorneys and can follow the proceedings against her.
Although Dannible was previously diagnosed with major depressive disorder, severe psychotic issues and anxiety disorder, the state’s expert said earlier that she is still able to function at a job, promote cosmetics online, attend sporting events and understand the court process.
Another licensed psychologist said earlier that Dannible was tearful, depressed, anxious, stays in bed and has suicidal thoughts.
According to Colburn’s ruling, Dannible reported that her posttraumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder, in part, derived from her four years as principal at the Litchfield school.
Dannible claims that she was repeatedly bullied and harassed by her supervisor, adding that although she no longer works at St. Francis of Assisi, she continues to experience depression and anxiety attributed to her time there.