Archive for the ‘Press Release’ Category
October 18, 2013: 27 year old Maurice Teasley is an excellent example of how second chances can change a life. Just eighteen months ago, Maurice, an unemployed father of two, was facing prison after a drug arrest in the East Germantown section of Philadelphia. Today, Maurice is employed full time, he’s proudly helping raise his two young sons, and he’s the newest recipient of the JEVS Human Services “Inspiration Award.” Maurice, who is also a member of the District Attorney’s “The Choice is Yours (TCY)” program, received the award during JEVS 2013 Strictly Business Awards this week. The awards banquet was attended by over 600 local and national business leaders.
Maurice Teasley was chosen for the TCY program in 2012, when he was facing a mandatory one year minimum prison sentence for selling crack cocaine. However, he avoided trial by agreeing to participate in TCY, a diversionary alternative-to-incarceration program. While a part of TCY, he was hired by Tasty Baking Company where he now works full time as a machine operator. Maurice has put his former lifestyle completely behind him, and he and his girlfriend are now raising their sons with a newfound sense of purpose and pride. He even volunteers as a PopWarner football coach in his community. Maurice will be graduating from TCY next month.
“The Choice is Yours” (TCY) is an innovative alternative-to-incarceration reentry program that diverts non-violent felony drug offenders away from prison and instead provides them with social services support, educational enhancements and job skills training. The TCY Program seeks to reduce recidivism rates and address the problem of prison overcrowding without compromising public safety.
It is the goal of TCY that upon completion, all participants will be employed or attending a full-time trade/vocational school, posses their high school degree or GED, complete 220 hours of restorative justice to their community, and have paid off their court costs and associated lab fees. TCY functions under the jurisdiction of the Philadelphia Municipal Court. It operates as a partnership between the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, the Defender’s Association of Philadelphia and JEVS Human Services.
The program targets first-time felony drug offenders charged with Possession With Intent to Distribute (PWID, 2 to 10 grams of powder or crack cocaine). It is open to U.S. citizens age 18 or older with no violent offenses associated with past or present charges. These individuals would be facing a mandatory one year sentence in state prison. The District Attorney’s Office has the sole discretion in approving or rejecting a defendant’s participation in the TCY Program. Participants who successfully complete the program are eligible to have their records expunged.
The program was initially offered to over ninety eligible defendants. Sixty-seven (67) successfully completed orientation and entered the TCY Program. Currently twenty-seven (27) people have completed the program and are awaiting expungement. Twenty-five (25) individuals either failed orientation or rejected the terms of the program. Of those twenty-five (25), sixteen (16) have already been convicted of felony drug charges and another eight have open cases still pending.
District Attorney Seth Williams invites you to attend his Inaugural Safety Summit for Women & Children this Saturday, October 19, 2013, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at The High School for the Future, 4021 Parkside Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104. This is a free event designed to give you the information and tools you need to make yourself and your family safer. You will be able to attend workshops led by experts on issues including internet safety for teens and children, personal self-defense for women, tools for protecting children from sexual abuse, the dangers of Human Trafficking and ways to escape domestic violence.
http://dasethwilliamssafetysummit.vpweb.com or 215-686-8715 for more information and to register. You can also register at the door.
October 8, 2013: Today, the Honorable Genece Brinkley sentenced 31-year-old Cory Harley to 15 to 30 years in prison for brutally slashing a young woman in South Philadelphia in 2012. Harley pleaded guilty to Attempted Murder and Robbery charges this morning just before his scheduled trial was about to begin.
On November 11, 2012, Ashley Hackett was walking on South Street when the defendant, who was lurking on the street, saw Ms. Hackett and began to follow her. Wearing a storm trooper hooded sweatshirt, Harley followed 20 paces behind his victim for several blocks. Then, wielding a knife with a four (4) inch blade and a “brass knuckle” shaped handle, Harley snuck up behind Ms. Hackett, reached around her body and slashed wildly. While standing above her, still holding the knife, the defendant grabbed the victim’s purse and ran as she screamed for help. The resulting six (6) inch long cut to Ms. Hackett’s jawline required over 100 stitches, and just missed slicing her throat by millimeters.
Though shaken, Ms. Hackett provided police with a solid description of her attacker and neighbors produced surveillance video of the attack. The South Detective Bureau worked diligently on the case and eventually received an anonymous tip which led detectives to Cory Harley. ADA Nadine Stevenson successfully prosecuted this case.
October 4, 2013: An Assistant District Attorney was arrested today by the Attorney General’s Office. The attorney, Lynn Nichols, most recently served as an Assistant Chief in the Homicide Unit.
A private citizen brought information to the District Attorney’s Office indicating that Nichols may have filed a false report with police regarding a personal matter unrelated to her official duties. To avoid any conflict of interest, the District Attorney’s Office immediately referred the matter to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. The Attorney General’s Office independently determined that criminal charges were appropriate.
The District Attorney’s Office suspended Nichols as a result of the investigation, and she has now resigned.
“Lynn Nichols had a long and successful career in this office,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “While it is with both professional and personal sadness that I am making this announcement today, we must maintain the highest standards of conduct in my office, and the legal process must take its course.”
Any further questions on this matter should be directed to Attorney General’s Office.
October 2, 2013: The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has charged 50-year-old Douglas Diemidio with Theft of Services for tampering with the electric meter inside his home on S. 12th Street to avoid full payment on his utility bills to PECO. PECO estimates that Diemidio’s theft of services was close to $10,000 over the course of four years. Diemidio, a former Philadelphia Police Officer, was charged after an investigation by PECO, Police Internal Affairs and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Special Investigations Unit. He turned himself in this afternoon and is currently being processed by police.
October 1, 2013: Ishmael Palmero was convicted today by a jury of his peers of First Degree Murder, Possession of an Instrument of Crime, Rape, and Sexual Assault. The Honorable Sandy L.V. Byrd then immediately sentenced him to life in prison without parole for the murder and 17.5-35 years for the sexual assault of an eyewitness.
September 30, 2013: Today, the Honorable Barbara McDermott sentenced Orlando Rosado to 15 to 40 years in prison for killing his baby boy, Christopher. On July 2, 2013, Judge McDermott found the 46-year-old defendant guilty of Third Degree Murder and EWOC during a waiver trial.
In 2012, Rosado fed a baby bottle containing heroin, methadone, and formula to his son and then put the little boy to bed. The next morning, two days shy of his first birthday, Christopher died from the drug intoxication. The defendant claimed he did not intentionally put the drugs in the bottle, but that since he himself was high on heroin he may have done so accidentally. The Commonwealth instead believes and presented at trial, that in the defendant’s warped and drug addicted mind he thought it was okay to put the drugs in the bottle to calm Christopher. Christopher was fussy the night he received the deadly concoction. ADA Lorraine Donnelly successfully prosecuted this case.
September 26, 2013: The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has charged the Rev. Robert L. Brennan with Rape, Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (IDSI), and Aggravated Indecent Assault. He is charged with sexually assaulting an altar boy at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Northeast Philadelphia between 1998 and 2001, beginning when the boy was 11 and continuing until he was 14 years old. Brennan, then 60 to 63 years old, was the assistant pastor at the church. Brennan is accused of digitally penetrating the boy’s anus, beginning when the victim was in 6th grade. He later began forcing the boy to perform oral sex on him. The assaults took place in the sacristy of the church, in the priest’s rectory bedroom, in a storage area on parish property, and in a movie theater. The abuse continued for three years.
Brennan, who now lives in Maryland, was arrested late on Wednesday, September 25th by Perryville Maryland police. He is currently being held in Cecil County and is expected to go before a judge there later today for an extradition hearing.
The victim reported Brennan’s abuse to the Archdiocese in January 2013, six months after a jury convicted Monsignor William Lynn of child endangerment for failing to supervise predatory priests. In accordance with its current policy of reporting all sexual abuse accusations to law enforcement, the Archdiocese immediately forwarded this victim’s allegations to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. The lengthy subsequent investigation resulted in Brennan’s arrest.
“A serial abuser is now behind bars thanks to the brave actions of this young man,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “It takes tremendous courage for any sexual assault victim to come forward and report the horrors he or she endured, particularly if it happened over the course of several years. The Archdiocese is also to be commended for immediately turning this case over to our office. I hope this arrest continues to send the message to sexual assault victims that we hear you, and we will bring the person to justice.”
The case of Robert Brennan presents another instance of abuse under the watch of Monsignor Lynn, secretary of clergy under Cardinal Anthony Bevilaqua. The actions Lynn took to shield predator priests from exposure and prosecution led to the victimization of untold numbers of Philadelphia-area children. Brennan, who is now 75 years old, is a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. His duties have been restricted since shortly after a Philadelphia grand jury documented numerous allegations of sexual misconduct with other children. In 2005, the Grand Jury found that during the tenure of Cardinal Bevilacqua the Archdiocese was notified that Brennan had sexually or inappropriately touched more than 20 boys, many from the schools of the parishes where he was assigned. Most of the complaints were based on the observations of Archdiocese employees–fellow priests, principals, and rectory workers. But the priest’s Archdiocese supervisors ignored these reports for over a decade.
Evidence of misconduct by Brennan dates back to at least 1990 and 1991, when the principal of St. Pius X High School and the principal of the parish school at St. Mary’s in Schwenksville raised concerns about Brennan’s improper behavior with numerous students. The officials removed him from St. Mary’s in 1992, only after the mother of a 7th grade altar boy complained that Brennan had touched her son inappropriately and forced him to sit on the priest’s lap.
Even then, Brennan was merely recycled to another assignment around unsuspecting children and parents. In December of 1993, Monsignor Lynn recommended that the accused priest be assigned to Resurrection of Our Lord Parish. Lynn did so even though doctors at
St. John Vianney, the Archdiocese-owned hospital that evaluates and treats priests accused of sexual abuse, had warned him and others that Brennan exhibited evidence of pedophilia and “like anyone with a recurring problematic behavior pattern presents future risk.” Resurrection had a large parish school and in testimony before the Grand Jury, Bishop Edward Cullen, who served as Vicar General in the Archdiocese under Cardinal Bevilacqua, acknowledged that assigning Brennan to Resurrection and leaving him there, without restrictions, endangered the parish’s children.
According to the Grand Jury’s findings, Brennan continued to exhibit at Resurrection of Our Lord the same sexually abusive behavior toward adolescent boys that principals at St. Mary’s and St. Pius X had previously reported. Two years before the incidents with which Brennan is now charged, the pastor at Resurrection reported to Secretary for Clergy Lynn that the rectory staff had observed Brennan inappropriately touching and wrestling with several adolescent boys in the sacristy and the rectory. Still, Lynn did not recommend removing the priest from his position, and Brennan continued as assistant pastor at Resurrection. In that capacity, he met, supervised, and abused the victim who has now come forward.
Lynn never reported to law enforcement any of the many allegations he heard about Brennan. Some of Brennan’s victims testified before the Grand Jury; others have come forward since to describe how he molested and sexually assaulted them. Yet these victims were unable to press charges because the crimes fell outside the statute of limitations. Thus, with the assistance of Lynn and others in the Archdiocese, Brennan until today escaped prosecution for his decades-long sexual abuse of boys whom he encountered as a priest.
Despite the applicability of the endangerment statute to Lynn and other Archdiocese managers for this current victim, they are not being charged today because this victim’s age puts his allegations three months beyond the criminal statute of limitations for endangering the welfare of children. Only the sexual assault crimes by Brennan himself, which carry a longer statute of limitations, can still be prosecuted.
“I applaud this victim for courageously coming forward now, and I hope this arrest encourages others to do likewise,” continued District Attorney Williams. “This Office is committed to prosecuting sexual offenders, even if it takes their victims years to reveal their painful stories.”
September 25, 2013: Today, the Honorable Charles A. Ehrlich accepted an Open Guilty Plea from 44-year-old Daniel Ramos for straw purchasing a firearm for his convicted-felon brother and sentenced him on that case, as well as a PWID case for which he had already pleaded guilty and asked to be consolidated. Judge Ehrlich sentenced Ramos to 2 to 6 years incarceration, followed by 10 years of reporting probation.
On December 14, 2012, Juan Crespo was shot dead by police after Crespo pointed a gun at police officers when the officers were investigating a call for a man with a gun. After shooting Crespo, the officers struggled with him to get the firearm out of his hands. The gun Crespo was holding was a 9mm Taurus that was traced back to Daniel Ramos.
The Attorney General and District Attorney’s Gun Violence Task Force (GVTF) determined that firearm had originally been purchased by Ramos on August 4, 2009, in Philadelphia. It was also determined that Daniel Ramos had purchased a total of five (5) firearms between 1990 and 2012.
On December 12, 2012, Daniel Ramos was arrested for Possession with Intent to Distribute (PWID). After the time of his arrest police found 138 Alprazolam pills, over 20 grams of crack cocaine, cash and an unloaded 12 gauge shotgun in the basement of the stash house where he was operating. On January 3, 2013, Ramos requested a bail reduction on his PWID case. Judge Patrick ordered that Ramos surrender all his firearms as a condition of bail. Ramos, together with his attorney, then met with agents from the GVTF and gave a statement explaining that he no longer had any of the firearms he originally purchased. Specifically:
9mm Ruger-purchased on 9/4/90: Ramos claimed the gun was stolen from him in Philadelphia, and he reported it stolen to the police, the GVTF could locate no record of such a report and the gun was not entered into NCIC.
9mm Smith & Wesson-purchased on 9/1/95 : Ramos claimed the gun was stolen from his residence in Philadelphia and he reported it stolen to police, the GVTF could locate no record of such a report and the gun was not entered into NCIC.
9mm Taurus-purchased on 10/15/2003: Ramos claimed the firearm was taken from him during a car stop, when Sheriffs served him with a Protection Order. The GVTF could find no record of the firearm being taken in a car stop, and noted that the firearm was never entered into NCIC or any other database to show it was being held by a law enforcement agency.
9mm Taurus (this is the firearm Crespo pointed at police)-purchased on 8/4/2009: Ramos claimed he left the firearm at his twin brother, Rafael Ramos’s house in Philadelphia. Daniel Ramos claimed the gun was reported stolen in a burglary of his brother’s house that his brother reported to police on April 15, 2012. It was determined that there was indeed a reported burglary at Rafael Ramos’s house, but that no one ever reported a firearm stolen in the burglary. The GVTF ran a criminal history for Rafael Ramos and determined that he was 6105 ineligible to possess a firearm due to his multiple prior convictions for PWID, and conviction for Burglary.
.40 caliber glock-purchased on 11/13/2009: Ramos explained that police took possession of the firearm when they responded to a domestic disturbance on January 12, 2012. The GVTF verified that this gun was indeed taken by the police on that evening and entered on a property receipt.
On February 14, 2013, Rafael Ramos admitted that his brother bought him the 9mm Taurus and that he later sold that gun to someone on 2nd and Girard Streets. Rafael Ramos said he “didn’t know the person’s name, but knew the guy could not buy a gun because of his record.” Rafael Ramos is currently awaiting a jury trial scheduled in January 2014.
This case was successfully prosecuted by ADA JT Tartikoff of the Gun Violence Task Force, together with ADA A.J. Thomson.