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Church keyboardist pleads guilty to felony charges

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By Shannon Brock

The church keyboardist accused of helping another church musician obtain a false commercial driver's license pleaded guilty last week to several felony charges.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland, who is prosecuting the case in Franklin County Circuit Court, said Michael Sivils pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree unlawful access of a computer, forgery and tampering with physical evidence. All of the charges are class D felonies.

The unlawful access of a computer charge was amended from a class C felony as part of a plea agreement.

Because the charge was amended to a class D felony, Sivils may be eligible for pre-trial diversion, Cleveland said.

Pre-trial diversion is for first-time offenders who plead guilty to class D felonies, he said. Those offenders are considered convicted felons for a period of time and are put on probation for a period of time, Cleveland said.

If the probation is satisfactorily completed, an order can be entered to dismiss the case and the offender would no longer have a criminal record, he said.

"(Pre-trial diversion is useful) when an otherwise good person does something bad," Cleveland said. "It doesn't ruin his life."

Sivils pleaded guilty to helping Lance Roe, a licensed funeral director at Gash Memorial Chapel, falsely obtain a CDL to drive a bus for First Baptist Church. Sivils is the pianist at the church. Roe is the church's organist.

Police say Sivils assisted Roe in obtaining the license by altering a state computer system database to make it appear that Roe had passed a test to obtain the license.

Roe is charged with complicity to commit unlawful access to a computer, a Class C felony, and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, a Class D felony.

Cleveland said Roe has a trial date scheduled for July 6. However, Cleveland anticipates that case will also be resolved before that date.

Sivils is scheduled to be sentenced on July 24.