Archives for July 2018

Sandusky Judge Consults in Priest Case

The judge who presided over Jerry Sandusky’s child molestation trial will help figure out what can be made public in a grand jury’s report into child sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses. The state Supreme Court on Monday named McKean County Judge John Cleland to serve as special master.The court has ordered the release of the report, but says names and other identifying information will have to be blacked out regarding priests and others who are challenging the report’s accuracy and fairness as it pertains to them. If there aren’t any disputes about the redactions, the report will be made public Aug. 8.

PA Officials Stop 3D Gun Downloading

State officials say they’ve successfully stopped a company that makes 3D downloadable guns from making them internet-accessible in Pennsylvania and from uploading new files. Attorney Gen. Josh Shapiro says Texas-based Defense Distributed agreed to block Pennsylvania users after an emergency hearing Sunday in federal court in Philadelphia. Shapiro says he, Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania State Police sued the company before its formal rollout of a downloadable gun program Wednesday. He says the company said in court it actually began distributing gun files Friday and by Sunday, 1,000 people had downloaded 3D plans for AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifles. Wolf says untraceable guns in the hands of unknown users “is too daunting to stand by and not take action.”
A settlement between the State Department and Defense Distributed is allowing the release of plans for guns online.

More PA Drowning Victims

Authorities say the body of a second apparent victim of this week’s flooding in central Pennsylvania has been found.State police say the body of a woman was found by a civilian Thursday in a Creek near Elizabethtown. That’s about three-quarters of a mile downstream from where police said a 19-year-old woman was swept into the swollen creek on Monday as she tried to cross it. Police say the woman will need to be identified using dental records. An autopsy was set for toiday. An 18-year-old man also drowned, apparently when he was swept away by floodwaters in Adams County when his car got stranded. Five days of downpours brought a foot or more of rain to an over 100-mile swath of Pennsylvania.

Gov. Wolf Fights Rollback on Mileage Standards

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is criticizing a forthcoming proposal by the Trump administration that’s expected to roll back Obama-era mileage standards designed to combat climate-changing emissions. Wolf’s Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell said Wednesday that weakening federal vehicle efficiency standards will hurt air quality and drive up health care costs. Pennsylvania’s attorney general, Josh Shapiro, and 16 other states sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in May to try to block any weakening of the standards. Automakers say the rules will cost the industry billions of dollars and raise vehicle prices.

PA Rep. Perry Criticized

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania is being criticized by his Democratic opponent in this fall’s election after Perry became one of 11 House Republicans to introduce articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Department of Justice official who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian election interference and possible ties to the Trump campaign. In a statement Wednesday night, the three-term Perry said the Department of Justice is impeding the oversight authority of Congress. Perry’s Democratic challenger, George Scott, said today that Perry is choosing conspiracy theories and radical partisanship over due process and the rule of law.

PA Taxpayers Pay Lawyer Legal Bill

Pennsylvania taxpayers are footing the $240,000 legal bill of a former state university administrator who was fired after an internal investigation substantiated allegations of financial impropriety and sexual misconduct toward students. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which oversees 14 state universities, agreed to pay Isaac Sanders’ lawyer after he successfully defended Sanders in a federal civil lawsuit filed by six students at East Stroudsburg University. The settlement, dated June 14 prohibits Pennsylvania’s higher education agency and Sanders from commenting on the agreement.

Group Says Cosby is Sexually Violent Predator

Bill Cosby should be classified as a sexually violent predator, according to an assessment issued by Pennsylvania’s Sexual Offenders Assessment Board.
A court document filed by the Montgomery County district attorney’s office today asks to schedule a hearing on the assessment so a judge can make the final determination of whether the comedian will be classified as sexually violent. No date had been set for the requested hearing. The 81-year-old was convicted April 26 on three counts of aggravated indecent assault related to accusations he had drugged and assaulted Andrea Constand at his home in 2004.

Gov. Wolf says Insurance Market Improving

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration says Pennsylvania’s health insurance market is improving, with health insurers offering individual market policies for 2019 with an average statewide rate increase of less than 1 percent. The Pennsylvania
Department of Insurance also said today that customers in 31 of 67 counties will see more insurers offering policies. The projected increase is lower than the aggregate statewide increase of 5 percent that insurers originally requested at May’s deadline.

State Discusses PIAA Rules Changes

Leaders from at least 137 public high schools reportedly plan to meet Tuesday in State College to talk about changes to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association — but association representatives aren’t expected to attend.
Leonard Rich, superintendent for Laurel School District, told that participants believe private and charter schools have an edge because they can recruit athletes without the geographic boundaries that define public schools.
Officials say the 20 percent of schools that are privates and charters have won 9 out of 16 football championships and 12 of 16 boys basketball titles. Rich argues for separate playoffs, but PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi says the association hasn’t explored that because of a 1972 law.

Gov. Wolf Working on Securing Elections

Governor Tom Wolf is bringing together government agencies to help ensure the state’s elections are safe and secure. Wolf announced today he was setting up the Inter-Agency Election Preparedness and Security Workgroup, led by his cabinet member who heads the agency that oversees voting. The chairmen are acting Secretary of State Robert Torres and John MacMillan, the Office of Administration’s chief information officer.