Thursday, April 18, 2013

Deputy Who Leaked LTCF Application Faces Felony Prosection

Northampton County Deputy Sheriff Darin Ray Steward,, who is active in the Deputy Sheriffs' union and is also a part-time police officer, faces criminal charges after leaking Tricia Mezzacappa's LTCF application to West Easton Borough Council President Kelly Gross. Steward and Gross are long-time friends.

Last November, Tricia Mezzacappa was convicted of disorderly conduct after a tirade at West Easton Boro Hall, during which two witnesses testified that Mezzacappa threatened to drag Gross to the Delaware River and drown her. Mezzacappa has also fantasized at The Express Times web page, on three separate occasions, about putting a "hollow point" bullet through my skull. Mezzacappa's account at that site was subsequently terminated.

Mezzacappa, who incidentally is a GOP candidate for both County and West Easton Borough Council, listed Attorney Rick Orloski and Executive John Stoffa as references on her application. Neither was contacted. Both would have urged the Sheriff NOT to grant the LTCF.

Attorney Orloski received the application in an anonymous letter, and forwarded the matter to both Sheriff Randy Miller and DA John Morganelli. Orloski represents me in a defamation action I've filed against Mezzacappa.

This leak cast a public spotlight on a systemic failure to check references in the Sheriff's Office, and at a time when gun violence is increasingly on people's minds.

While I do not condone Steward's actions, I believe criminal sanctions are too harsh. Rather than violating the public trust, this whistleblower upheld it. I believe it may have led Sheriff Miller to revoke Mezzacappa's LTCF, although the Sheriff has previously declined comment on that point.

Although no charges have been filed against Kelly Gross, the investigation continues.

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

The last sentence is cryptic. Why would charges be filed against Kelly Gross because a deputy committed a crime?

Two wrongs don't make a right. He could have chosen a better way that did not violate his sacred public trust. He's why serious gun control is not possible. Big mistake. He should pay.

Anonymous said...

He deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He wears a badge in his official capacity and has shown callous disregard for the high level of responsibility he accepted. Law enforcement officials who pick and choose what cinfidential information to leak and who to "go after" based on personal relationships ave no place in law enforcement and destroy public trust.

If he feels he did the right thing, good for him. He can remember that in the unemployment line or while in his cell. He can think of that when Mezzaccappa collects "mucho dinero" from the county in her civl lawsuit. Nice work guys.

He is out of here.

Just a taxpayer screrwed again by incompetence.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mezzacappa leaked her own LTCF, so it's hard for me to feel sorry for her. I believe Steward's motives were good. He was not acting out of malice or lucre. He is being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and hopefully, he will be acquitted.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Why would charges be filed against Kelly Gross because a deputy committed a crime?"

Hopefully, they won't be.

Anonymous said...

I guess the issue of Gross's legal exposure is whether she's liable for disclosure as well?

In that vein, is Orloski accountable as well?

Anonymous said...

He betrayed the public trust. If he had a problem he should have referred it to his boss Miller and/or the DA. The fact that he gave it to someone who has a personal fued with the applicant shows malice of forethought. There is more to come. Nice spin Benrie but mancrush or not, hate of Mezzaccappa or not, he is guilty. A lawman cannmot pick and chose his oaths to keep.

Anonymous said...

If the document was sent to the West Easton Borough, Kelly was just following the Right to Know act...come on people, she's doing her job. Mezzacappa can't say she's not being transparent anymore I guess. ha ha! Where's their RTK Officer when they need him?

Save Sheriff Steward!!!

Anonymous said...

Why shouldn't the deputy be prosecuted?

He committed a crime, correct?

I don't see how he blew the whistle on anything. That could have easily been my permit or yours he's photocopying to whomever wants it.

West Easton Citizen said...

The tiny village of Grossville is it's own sovereign fiefdom, the notion that Morganelli could extract and prosecute it's beloved Matriarch is shear poppycock.

Anonymous said...

Bernie- How can you say his motives were good? If he was trying to "blow the whistle" on how the LTC applications were being handled why not go to the DA? Instead, he photo copied it and obviously gave it to or sent it to Kelly Gross; which I am assuming he is friends with. Why do all of this anonymously? He knew what he was doing was wrong; if not, he would have gone about it legally.

Anonymous said...

Who is going to file the charges? It's ridiculous..He's a whistleblower and he's getting prosecuted? 8

Anonymous said...

In 1986, the Pennsylvania Legislature enacted the Whistleblower Law, 43 Pa.C.S. §§ 1421-1428, to protect government employees from wrongful discharge and retaliation where the employee, in good faith, blows the whistle on the employer for acts of wrongdoing.


The Whistleblower Law prohibits an employer from discharging, threatening or otherwise discriminating or retaliating against an employee, or a person acting on behalf of an employee, who has made a good faith report of wrongdoing or waste to the employer or an appropriate authority.


"Wrongdoing" is defined in the statute as any violation of any state, federal or local law, regulation, ordinance, code of conduct or code of ethics designed to protect the interest of the public or the employer.

Anonymous said...

This should be a very interesting decision on the county level. I believe they will file charges and let the court mitigate the circumstances. I applaud the gentleman and wish him well and hopefully a good lawyer will step forward and represent him if need be.

Anonymous said...

So he's a whistle blower because the friend he leaked the info to happens to be a public official that's totally unrelated to the LTCF issue? Get real!

He deserves to be prosecuted and sentenced to the fullest extent of the law. He should lose his job and pension.

As far as the local official who got the report, if she used her position to get the report (as opposed to being given it unsolicited) she should be charged as well.

As far as mezzacappa, I would think the Sheriff or the DA have ample evidence to take whatever action is allowed under the law.

Anonymous said...

If the guy hadn't gone to a civil court opponent's lawyer, he'd be in a better position to defend himself as a crusader for public safety. Most judges view violations of the public trust as very serious. In bribery cases, private payees, while punished, are always bargained with and used to bring the full force of the system down on public employees who've violated public trust. While these circumstances are different, the deputy could have gone about his whistle blowing a dozen other ways - all legal and better than the way he did it. He should receive the presumption of innocence but not the benefit of the doubt. His method sucked.

Anonymous said...

Kelly may be in trouble. This was not the right way to go about it. Orloski did the right thing. He's the only one who did in this mess.

Anonymous said...

Kelly Gross does not have a "personal feud" with Mezzacappa. Gross has been the victim of Mezzacappa's relentless abuse and threats of violence, including a specific threat by Mezzacappa to "kill" her. There is a police report documenting the incident.

Mezzacappa has been terrorizing West Easton officials and staff for a long time. On three occasions she posted a threatening gun video on You Tube using an image of a coffin and the Borough Hall and proclaiming the song lyrics: "You better run, better run, outrun my gun...You better run, better run, faster than my bullet."

As a security precaution, the door of the Borough Hall has been kept locked since August 2012. Easton police have a contract to patrol the Borough, and during one recent meeting an Easton official proposed that the Borough install bullet-proof glass at its municipal building as an additional security measure.

If the deputy's actions led to the revocation of Mezzacappa's LTCF, it highlights two points: 1) what the deputy did was in the public interest, and 2) what others did by issuing the license, then ignoring subsequent complaints was not.

Anonymous said...

The situation should have been raised through proper channels. Our DA is not the kind of guy who wouldn't act. This situation was handled incorrectly by public officials who violated public trust. That's a very bad thing.

Anonymous said...

Others may be involved,people who have a vendetta against Mezzacappa.
the investigation continues...

Anonymous said...

Even Earl?

Anonymous said...

The issue still remains uninvestigated that was brought to light. NORCO"S permitting process is non-compliant with law. Culpalbility will have to be assigned according to Law. A systemic dilema indeed!

Clinton Oxford said...

It is certainly within the purview of a councilwoman to request/view documents from the Sheriff's Office relating to potential threat's to Gov't admin. facilities. Threat's are precursor's to potential action's.

Anonymous said...

Gross was actually doing the sheriffs job, she contacted the reference.

Anonymous said...

The lawyer or the Exec? Both are allowable actions.

Clinton Oxford said...

How many State & Federal Agencies are tasked with investigating Procedural Flaw's in Issuing Concealed Weapon's Permit's? It would behoove the County to verbalize a crystal clear remedy rather than beat-up on the messenger. NORCO is in big trouble.

Anonymous said...

You made some good points there. I looked on the net to Learn More about
the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views
on this web site.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Others may be involved,people who have a vendetta against Mezzacappa. the investigation continues..."

This is an attempt to implicate me, but this veiled accusation happens to be false. I had no idea that the application had been leaked until my attorney notified me. sorry.

Anonymous said...

Bernie-I can assure you that you are not the "others involved" they are referring it. There were two other deputy sheriffs with Darin in the office that day.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I know, and neither of them has a vendetta against Mezzacappa, so far as I am aware.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted you to know that I in no way think that you had anything to do with this. And those who do, are incorrect.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Understood, and thank you.

Clinton Oxford said...

Northampton County is not going to spend $15,000.00, on a Trial, with multiple defendant's. You have unrealistic expectation's of what is actually going to occur.

Anonymous said...

Clinton, pull the cornciob out of your ass and complain to people who give a shit, ya phoney!

Clinton Oxford said...

Ya gotta name, punk?

Broadway Jim said...

Clinton Oxford care to share the sordid details of your criminal history?

Clinton Oxford said...

Look in the Public Record's. It's all there.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Broadway Jim should reveal his own sordid details before he casts stones.

Broadway Jim said...

3rd degree buggery while operating a motor vehicle.

Tommy Chong said...

From the ET

Mezzacappa said she forgives Steward for leaking her personal information but called for criminal charges to be filed against Gross. Mezzacappa accused the council president of attempting to destroy her career and reputation.

"Kelly Gross is the culprit. She is a disgusting piece of garbage," Mezzacappa said.

Gross did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Good to see Mezzacappa stays classy even in good times.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, am I mistaking but didn't you make posts that you were alerting the sheriff of this woman being a threat and to look into her LTCF license? If you had, does this leak perhaps demostrate that the sheriff did not even take a look at her application or history after those concerning letters?

Isn't the real news story here that this sheriff can hand out LTCF and even under serious requests by an overwhelming amount of public concern to investigate, he did nothing? .. as it seems anyway.

I realize it may had been a violation to disclose this woman's applicaton, which was more lies than trut, to only one public official..But in the end, I think we all can expect more from our County in the future with this exposure.

Hopefully we can make changes and rest better knowing our government offices will be doing a better job at monitoring the people who should be able to carry a concealed firearm and will respect the system, and their responsibility.. Not make a mockery of it. (This woman is actually running to be a public official and making a joke of a government system that actually is to protect the public? She is nuts.)

It is a shame that the deputy is being "shot" and not the sheriff, in this case, I hope everyone will eventually realize he assisted in making known to the public our County's disfuntional system needed change. His method of doing so, if he meant it or not, finally made this a public eye-opener. I thank him for that and don't care about her privacy of lies on an application. Did the deputy need to protect her lies so she could go around flaunting her weapons and threating people?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I did request Sheriff Miller for a copy of her LTCF application, and he declined, stating it was confidential. I did send him several emails so that he could consider revocation, and I know he took them seriously. I do not know whether he examined the actual application until it was leaked. Had he done so, he might have done something, I agree.

Anonymous said...

Pa is a "shall issue state", azzclown. If you want to live in a gunless utopia move to England. We don't stop people from the right to carry based on a bottom feeders anger at an ex-girlfriend and his anonymous hater buddies.

Get a life and leave our rights alone.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You tell 'em, Spanky. Arm every lunatic! Newtown be damned.

Anonymous said...

Has a real judge declared Ms. Mezzacappa mentally incompentent? If not, "shall issue" baby.

How much taxpayer money in lawsuits will you, Kelly Gross and your miscreant buddies going to cost those of us who pay taxes? she will sue and she will win.

thanks, azzclown!

Bernie O'Hare said...

A "real judge" does not have to declare her mentally incompetent. A Sheriff can revoke for good cause. A recent case out of Berks County supports this action, if it has been taken. Try reading the law instead of NRA pamphlets.

Anonymous said...

"Has a real judge declared Ms. Mezzacappa mentally incompetent? If not, 'shall issue baby."

Mezzacappa, a registered nurse, declared herself to be mentally unfit. She said so in a court pleading she filed last year, a month after applying for her LTCF. She said she has a mental disorder that requires her to take potent controlled substances.

On the basis of that court pleading, maybe a judge should have directed her to undergo a mental evaluation.

Anonymous said...

the blogger doth protest too much, methinks

Anonymous said...

A complaint can be filed against her R.N. certification, as she handle's medication dispensing.

Anonymous said...

This hateful vendetta against this woman will end up costing the county big money.

A taxpayer

Anonymous said...

You're full of shit & I know it.

Anonymous said...

This hateful vendetta against this woman will end up costing the county big money.

Doubtful. She'll have to prove damages. Considering she had previously disclosed the fact that she had a LTCF permit and her personal info on the application is public knowledge already because of her seeking an elected office there is no damage, other than she listed two people as references that would not have supported her obtaining a permit to carry, or even owning a weapon. Will the leak cost her the county primaries election, or the borough general election? Hardly. She would have finished at the bottom of the pack without this story. If anything, this story may give her 5 or 6 more votes than she would have previously gotten (probably doubling her total vote count).

She would do better to file a civil action against the deputy, but she has already stated publicly that she has forgiven him.

Anonymous said...

Jim Gregory said...
The deputy sheriff should receive the same grace. He has put his job on the line to bring out something that the county was hiding. I like Randy and I understand why this happened , like Cusick said, it was his fault and he was right, it was CUSICKS fault for cutting the funds. That aside, this deputy is being unfairly punished and I wish him the best. Anything I can do to help , I will. $

12:28 PM

Anonymous said...

Are there any consequences about falsifying the application? Why did the Morning Call dance around that issue? Change the form and require the references to sign. Miller needs to answer why such an important decision is not taken more seriously.

Anonymous said...

She can sue that her RN license is damaged. See now there is a possibility that future employers can find out she knowingly falsified documents as a sick joke while obtaining a gun permit.

Before this leak her future employer would have no knowledge that she likes to falsify documents that are established for public safety. She could had a nice little career, continueing to make lies and falsifying documents to suit her crazy mind, but not any more. It was taken away.

Anonymous said...

She put down two references, that is not illegal. Maybe she didn't think they would go all O'Hare on her. Stoll no problem. Stupid isn't illegal and she broke no laws. Emails are dangerous, ask Stoffa.

The county is in big trouble. The only law broken was by the deputy and his accomplicess. You can dance around those facts all you want. A judge willnot.

Isn't it ironic that all these people out to destroy this woman have no doubty enriched her at the taxpayers expense.

Another notch in the belt of Bernie O'Hare and his poison posse.

Good Job!

County Taxpayer

Anonymous said...

It seem's that other's, including Jim Gregory, support a general amnesty for the Deputy for bringing a systemic failure to light. Technically, the attorney in question is an Officer of the Court.

Anonymous said...

The deputy leaked info and an investigation was done. Now posts are revealing specific details about activity on a camera in the department. Hopefully this is investigated to determine if someone is interferring in a criminal matter. The DA needs to find out how many people viewed this tape and why such specific information is being posted.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Everybody knows this was caught on video. I heard it from at least ten different people. If you want to investigate that, good luck.

Anonymous said...

5:47 It will be my pleasure to raise my taxes to get rid of this wacko. She is nuts, she keeps good people from being a good citizen of their community because bless you if you ever cross her path in a wrong way: which her crazy mind will be that judge on that, you will be done too.

Taxpayer? I'm one too and I don't care, the fact that she is running to be a politician of NORCO and West Easton is surely killing property value far beyond our tax burden.

She has been convicted already, and will probably be soon again with her lies about Matt Dees?

She needs to be squished like a slug. Then you "taxpayer" will be free and see that taxes and property value will increase.

Anonymous said...

What if she goes back to nursing?

Anonymous said...

Are there any consequences about falsifying the application?

She didn't "falsify" anything, as regrettable as that is to say. She gave two references that would have recommended against her being issued a LTCF. IF the Sheriff had done his job and checked those references the LTCF wouldn't have been issued. Kind of makes you wonder just how few friends Mezzacappa has if she lists two people that would have sunk her application.

And the Sheriff had plenty of opportunity and reason to do so well before this leak occurred. There had been numerous requests to all law enforcement agencies about Mezzacappa owning a weapon and having a permit to carry. With so many appeals to review her LTCF why wasn't her application reviewed previously? It required a Deputy to make it public before it got the attention it deserved.

Anonymous said...

Morganelli won't obtain a Felony conviction of the Deputy. The Felony charge is a sabre-rattling maneuver for Plea-Bargin leverage. Grade -School tactic's!

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

How long had Rick Orloski known Tricia Mezzacappa at the time she applied for the LTCF? Did he know her other than as a defendant in your defamation lawsuit?

If they were not previously acquainted, then she deliberately chose to make a mockery of the LTCF process by listing him as a character reference.

Listing someone as a character reference who doesn't really know you seems like a form of falsification to me.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Rick had no idea who she was until the week before we sued her for defamation. He sent her a letter, and of course, she went ballistic. He had to instruct his office to refuse to accept any calls from her.

But listing him or John Stoffa as a reference is no crime. Had she represented that they would vouch for her, it would be, but no such representation was made. No normal person would list two people as references who would speak against them. But Mezzacappa, as we all know, is far from normal.

Anonymous said...

The ten people who told you what was on the tape had to hear it from someone. This tape was supposedly viewed by the internal affair sergeant. If he disclosed "evidence" to others, this should be addresssed. Rumor has it he has a vindetta against the union. Makes one wonder if only part of the tape was given to the DA. Hopefully this comes out in discovery.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a guy with a hero complex who does what he wants not caring who he hurts or about the consequences. He just had to come to the aid of a damsel in distress instead of choosing a legal and more appropriate action. He lost the respect of many and his career is probably over. Only a fool would trust him now so good luck with the job hunt. Hope she was worth it.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone read The Express Times today?? Per a Pennsylvania Police Captain who oversees the state's firearms background data base says it is up to the individual sheriffs and counties to determine whether reference checks are necessary. Sheriff Miller did nothing wrong. Deputy Steward on the other hand did something illegal. I cannot believe that people are still thinking he his some kind of hero. He illegally removed a confidential document from the office and gave it to Kelly Gross, who obviously has had issues in the past with Mezzaccappa. Sounds kind of personal to me.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 7:22

Obviously, you have never worked in an office setting. You can't even fart without someone knowing it. What specific details are you reading about that I'm not seeing.