GREENFIELD – Days before her resignation was set to take effect, a deputy prosecutor accused of botching a rape case she had overseen was fired.
Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton announced late Thursday he had fired Georgeanna Teipen, who had planned to step down at the end of the month amid controversy over her handling of a sex crimes case.
Eaton said he felt an “obligation to make a change” in the hours after the victim in the sexual assault case publicly criticized Teipen during a sentencing hearing, saying Teipen gave the defendant a lenient sentence and failed to communicate with the victim about the terms of a plea deal.
Teipen was removed from the case after the victim expressed concerns to Eaton about the plea deal.
The woman repeated those concerns in Hancock Circuit Court on Thursday before a packed courtroom that included Teipen, who could be heard muttering angrily from the public gallery while the victim told a judge she was outraged by Teipen’s handling of the case.
Teipen left the courtroom in tears after the sentencing hearing.
Teipen was hired last year to fill a grant-funded position to prosecute crimes against women and children. She handed in her resignation to Eaton after the victim’s concerns first came to light, though she said her decision to step down had nothing to do with any of her cases.
That resignation — as well as a $3,300 vacation payout she was to receive — was nullified Thursday night when Eaton terminated Teipen effective immediately, officials said. Eaton declined to discuss details about what occurred after Thursday’s hearing but said, “It was in our best interest not to wait” for her resignation.
Teipen could not be reached for comment.