Tick Tock theft case poised for settlement

After a couple hours of shuttle diplomacy in district court, the parties involved in a theft case against the former executive director of the Tick Tock Early Learning Center appeared headed for a resolution.

The preliminary hearing for Jackie H. Maas, 60, of East Marlborough Township, scheduled for Friday, Feb. 20, was delayed by a series of conferences and paperwork exchanges that occurred among the small groups for each side present in the courtroom.

At the end of the discussions, Magisterial District Judge Matthew Seavey signed off on an agreement that also contained the signatures of Maas; her attorney, Leonard J. Rivera; and Assistant District Attorney John Rafferty.

In a prepared statement, Peter E. Kratsa, who represented the learning center, said that Tick Tock remains committed to its children and that maintaining the “integrity of the donation process” was a vital part of that mission.

“Tick Tock is pleased that, subject to the agreement reached between Ms. Maas and the commonwealth, that an amicable resolution was reached in this matter,” the statement said. “We wish Ms. Maas nothing but the best.”

Rivera said “just a few wrinkles” remained before all of the charges would be dismissed. “Both sides understood that an amicable resolution was in everyone’s best interests, especially in light of the facts,” he said.

He declined to elaborate on the “wrinkles,” but the agreement stated that the parties would reconvene before the judge on March 6. If Maas has paid $500 restitution during that two-week time frame, the charges would be dismissed.

The criminal case dates back to the end of January when New Garden Township Police completed a month-long investigation, alleging that Maas had taken property valued at $3,500 from her former employer. She was charged with multiple theft offenses.

According to court records, the root of the dispute began in early August when Maas resigned from her position. In an exchange of letters, representatives from Tick Tock requested the return of science kits worth more than $3,100 that belonged to the center, and Maas acknowledged having them.

Records showed that a second conflict arose when Maas accepted a $500 donation from an Aug. 9 fundraiser, held the day after her resignation was accepted. Maas said that she took the money because no other Tick Tock representative attended the event and that she would not return it until she got compensation for monies owed to her, court records said.

In November, Tick Tock hired Kratsa to help recover its property, and on Dec. 18, New Garden Township Police were contacted. On Jan. 15, police executed a search warrant at Maas’s residence, seizing 190 science kits from her basement, court records said.

Maas was charged with felony theft and surrendered to police the next day. At the time, Rivera called the case “a big misunderstanding,” expressing confidence that it would be resolved amicably.

The Tick Tock Early Learning Center celebrated its 50th anniversary in May. The center, Tick Tock, located in the 1600 block of Baltimore Pike in New Garden Township, has been providing affordable childcare and early childhood education for low-income families in southern Chester County since 1964 when a group of Quaker women started it.

 

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