An Ohio University student pleaded guilty last week to one count of making a false alarm, and received a reduced sentence as a result of a plea agreement with city prosecutors.
Anna Ayers, 21, was sentenced to 30 days in jail on the first-degree misdemeanor count of making a false alarm, with that 30 days suspended by Athens County Municipal Judge Todd Grace as long as she does not violate any laws for two years, and completes 24 hours of community service in Athens County within 90 days (or 48 hours in 120 days if in another county). She also faces a $1,000 fine, with $900 of that suspended.
Ayers also was required to write a letter of apology to OU’s Student Senate.
This came after the now-former OU student senator was charged earlier this fall by the OU Police Department with three counts of “making false alarms,” after reporting that she had received a series of threatening messages, including a death threat targeting her as an LGBTQ person. Two of the three charges were dismissed against her as a result of the plea agreement.
After she had reported finding those threatening messages two weeks previously, the OU Police investigated her claims and found that she had “placed the messages herself, prior to reporting them,” according to an OU Police news release.
Ayers wrote in herapology, provided by the Athens City Prosecutor’s office, that she realized her actions “stole attention away from the great work Senate does.”
“During the last week in September, I entered into what is known as a manic episode,” Ayers wrote. “Individuals who suffer from Bipolar One Disorder can have severe mood episodes, especially when they go without adequate treatment. I have been suffering from the mood symptoms of Bipolar One Disorder for many years. Since being officially diagnosed a year ago, I have been inadequately treated for the severity of my illness and was left on a medication that is known to exacerbate symptoms of mania. These are just a few of the factors that triggered this episode.”
Ayers wrote that individuals experiencing a manic episode “act in ways entirely uncharacteristic of their typical behavior and, in my case, my values as well.
“These episodes can cause complete disassociation, a disregard for consequence, and, when the episode ends, a limited recollection of what occurred during mania,” she wrote.
Ayers wrote that since she left Athens, she has been receiving the level of care she needs, and said she plans to return to OU eventually.
“I have nothing but the deepest respect for all of you and I desperately hope that you can accept that the true me, when in the right mind, would never do anything like what happened this fall,” she wrote. “…You are a group of students willing to give up your time and energy to better your community for others. I will carry the guilt of hurting such admirable people for a very long time. I wish you all nothing but the best and I hope that, in time, you will be willing to forgive me for what I have done.”