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05-06-03: Harbor House names new director
The Daily Standard
    Harbor House Maternity Home in Celina has corrected financial mismanagement problems with the organization's former in-house adoption agency and has named a new executive director, a Harbor House official said Monday.
    Harbor House's board of trustees has named Doug Eberle the new executive director. He replaces his wife Karla, who was suspended from the job last October for improperly handling adoption agency funds.
    The facility discontinued housing females in crisis pregnancies after Karla Eberle was suspended. The organization's in-house adoption agency also ceased to operate.
    Both services have started again, Doug Eberle confirmed this morning. But instead of performing adoptions in-house, Harbor House now performs them with the help of local attorneys, which it used to do between 1990 and 1998.
    In June, Harbor House again will house pregnant girls and women on a regular basis, where they will be able to continue their education, receive medical care and life skills training. The house currently is home to one girl, who is almost nine months pregnant and was taken in early due to an emergency situation, Doug Eberle said.
    Doug Eberle said he feels the past mistakes that led to the organization's temporary upheaval have only made it better, and he sees a bright future.
    "There have been many mistakes and road blocks along the way that God has used to make it better," Doug Eberle said. "He has taken something that could have been very bad, but it has made us better."
    The board of trustees is establishing new accounting procedures to ensure that finances are accurate.
     Harbor House officer volunteer Yvonne Menzer said Karla Eberle will continue on as a house parent, caring for and providing services to the pregnant teens and women. She also will coordinate volunteers who help operate the facility.
    Doug and Karla Eberle remain residents at their East Fulton Street home, where they have been house parents for more than 12 years.
    Coldwater attorney Paul Howell spearheaded the investigation along with several board members. Howell said the amount of money inappropriately handled during the last two years by Karla Eberle was "way under $20,000." Howell this morning confirmed that he completed his investigation last November, but was not authorized to disclose the exact amount of money mishandled. All the missing funds have been reimbursed, Howell had said.
    Bill Rieth, chairman of Harbor House's board of trustees had said for a January story that the exact amount of money involved would be released upon final completion of the investigation and review by the board. He could not be reached for comment this morning.
    No charges were ever brought against Karla Eberle by Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney Andy Hinders. Rieth earlier said that board members had "no desire" to press charges.
    Harbor House, started by the Eberles in 1990, is one of just a few such organizations across the United States. It has three divisions:
    - The in-house maternity care service that allows females, mostly single pregnant teen-agers, to live in a Christian atmosphere at 119 E. Fulton St.
    - Elizabeth Pregnancy Services, which offers free pregnancy testing, adult referral housing, a 24-hour hotline, adoption care and support, referrals and a mentoring program.
    - Adoption services, which are now provided by local attorneys.
    Since Harbor House began operating in 1990, 258 babies have been born with their help and more than 80 girls have lived at the facility. Though the agency had stopped taking in girls late last year, Harbor House continued to offer a variety of services including pregnancy testing and counseling.


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
All content copyright 2003
The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822