|NorCo DA John Morganelli|
This matter arose in late March, when someone anonymously provided Allentown Attorney Richard Orloski with a copy of the gun permit application, considered a confidential record under state law. This application was prepared by West Easton resident Tricia Mezzacappa, a former Republican County Council candidate who finished last in the May 21 Primary. She listed both Orloski and Executive John Stoffa as references, though she knew that neither would support her application.
When the application was leaked to Attorney Orloski, he objected strongly, as did Stoffa.
Neither listed reference had ever been contacted by the Sheriff's office because of the volume of applications.
A subsequent investigation into the leak revealed that Deputy Sheriff Darin Steward copied the application when he was at the Sheriff's Office for a Sunday morning union meeting in early March. He also showed it to Deputy Sheriffs Tom Bachik and Pat Crivellaro, both of whom were aware that Steward intended to leak the matter. Neither made any effort to stop him. According to Morganelli, their behavior was at a minimum a "malfeasance of public office."
The DA decided not to charge them because both have since resigned.
Steward provided the gun permit application to Kelly Gross, a long-time friend, on March 15. Gross, President of West Easton Borough Council, is no friend to Mezzacappa.. Last November, Mezzacappa was convicted of disorderly conduct after an obscenity-laced tirade at the Borough Hall, during which two witnesses testified that she had threatened to drag Gross to the Delaware River and drown her.
Morganelli called Gross a "civilian" and declined to charge her.
Morganelli acknowledged that there is no conclusive evidence establishing just how the application ended up with Attorney Orloski. Both Steward and Gross deny that they supplied the gun permit application to Orloski.
Finally, Morganelli considered charging Mezzacappa for supplying what might be false information on a gun permit application. But since she is herself a victim, he decided against charging her.
Steward has been charged with disseminating information on a gun permit application, a third degree felony, and obstructing justice, a second degree misdemeanor. He faces fines up to $30,000 and up to nine years in jail. He faces termination as a Deputy Sheriff, and has been suspended as a part-time police officer in Upper Nazareth.
Morgsanelli indicated he is willing to consider some form of nontrial diversion for Deputy Steward, under which charges could be dismissed after a period of probation. "Maybe his intentions were good, but the fact is that he is a Deputy Sheriff," the DA concluded.