A Zanesville woman with a history of drug use during pregnancy admitted to falsifying records related to her court-ordered supervision.

Ron Welch
Muskingum County Prosecutor


Thursday, June 13, 2024

Pregnant Drug-Using Mother Pleads Guilty to Forgery, Tampering

A Zanesville woman with a history of drug use during pregnancy admitted to falsifying records related to her court-ordered supervision.

Emily R. Culp, age 25, of Zanesville appeared before Muskingum County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark C. Fleegle on June 12, after appearing two days prior and testing positive for cocaine.

Culp pled guilty to two counts of forgery and one count of tampering with records at the previous hearing. The June 12 hearing occurred so that the court could be assured Culp was not high during her plea.

When Culp was returned to the courtroom it was learned that she was pregnant.

Culp has been reporting to a Muskingum County Court probation officer since January 2023. At that time, she was pregnant with a different child and tested positive for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, and oxycodone.

Culp failed drug tests two more times while pregnant in 2023.

The Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office previously indicted Culp for corrupting a pregnant woman with drugs, to safeguard her child and hold her accountable for poisoning herself and her womb with drugs while pregnant. Those charges had to be dismissed when the Ohio Fifth District Court of Appeals determined the law did not apply when a mother injects herself.

After Culp’s charges were dismissed, she was permitted to have custody of the child.

In her Muskingum County Court case, Culp was placed in the Miracles in Recovery and Clean Living Everyday (MIRACLE) program, also known as MIRACLE Drug Court.

On February 28, 2024, Culp’s probation officer received information that Culp was falsifying attendance records for her court-ordered Alcoholics Anonymous/Sober Support classes.

Investigators reviewed the class’s sign-in sheets and confirmed that Culp forged the class administrator’s signature on the attendance record.

At a June 10 plea hearing, Culp pled guilty as charged. Afterwards, Muskingum County Assistant Prosecutor John Litle asked for Culp to undergo drug testing leading to the positive cocaine test.

“In the MIRACLE program, she was effectively enveloped in services and programs to improve outcomes for her life and the life of her child,” Litle offered on the day of her plea. “But those services were not enough to overcome her addiction to crack-cocaine, even on the day of her court appearance.”

Judge Fleegle revoked her bond, and Culp was re-scheduled for the new hearing on June 12, after the effects of her having smoked crack had worn off.

Only then was it learned that Culp was once again poisoning her womb with illegal drugs.

Litle says that Culp is responsible for her actions, but the legislature is responsible for failing to take action to help prevent her behavior.

“The Ohio legislature has a super-majority of politicians who claim to be pro-life,” Litle said. “They are aware of this issue and the fact that our state is plagued by mothers who produce drug-addicted offspring, over and over again, without hesitation or remorse.”

Litle says prosecutors across the state struggle to deal with the crisis of women who poison their pregnant bodies.

“For a time, we believed that the law offered a solution involving mandatory prison time for such selfish mothers. With that tool no longer available, something must be done,” Litle said. “Our legislators absolutely refuse to address the crisis, leaving Ohio’s law enforcement, criminal courts, hospitals, children’s services agencies, juvenile courts, schools and boards of developmental disabilities and mental health to deal with the life-long consequences of these women’s behavior.”

Culp faces up to five years in prison.

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Pregnant Drug-Using Mother Pleads Guilty to Forgery, Tampering