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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Persecution of a Nazareth Rose

Her name is Rosie. I've known her for many years. If you pass through Nazareth on a regular basis, you've probably seen her. For years, she has religiously walked dogs for people who are unable to do it themselves. She does not even charge to do this, although I'm sure that people give her a few bucks when they can. On the coldest days this winter and the hottest days of summer, she is out there, usually with a few friends. Occasionally, she watches the shops of local business owners while they run errands. They can trust her. The Rosies of this world are what give small towns their charm. But to Nazareth police, she is a menace. While real criminals deal drugs in the borough park, two cops wasted taxpayer money by persecuting this cancer survivor for harassment yesterday.

Maybe she's a little lonely. Maybe she's just very friendly. But whatever the reason, she does like to stop in at a lot of the local businesses. If they tell her they're busy, she leaves. She's never been a problem.

But one local business owner, who resented her occasional visits, chose to talk to the police instead of her. He even obtained a "No Trespassing Order", which was served on her by Police Chief Thomas Trachta, a New York City transplant with a thick accent. Never mind that there's no provision in the Crimes Code or anywhere else that authorizes police to take this extrajudicial step.

Rosie stayed away from this business, and was even careful to walk on the other side of the street to avoid any scrutiny. But that was not enough.

In April, Rose was charged with harassment. According to the business owner, he saw her and a young lady walking their dogs, near the now vacant Nazareth National Bank at Main and Mauch Chunk. Rosie supposedly pointed at him from across the street and said, "If I had a gun, I'd shoot you in the ass."

At this time, Rosie was accompanied by a minor who denies anything of the sort happened. Rosie denies saying a word to this gentleman. There were no other witnesses. People were in the ice cream shop across the street, but no effort was made to contact any of them. They made no reports.

Though Nazareth police saw nothing, Officer Miroslav Djindjiev charged her with harassment. The officer told her he was protecting a business owner

She must be a second class citizen.

For someone like Rosie, these charges were devastating. She was a wreck. Though I saw nothing, I offered to testify as a reputation witness. I know many of the locals and many of the businesses, and they all have a high opinion of Rosie.

She later told me that her sister hired a good lawyer to represent her.

When I walked into court yesterday, both Officer Djindjiev and Chief Trachta were there, rarin' to go, with their guns and bullet proof vests strapped on. You never know what a lady in her 50s might do. The business owner and his wife, were there, though they weren't packin'. I also saw a former business owner and wondered whether she was there to testify against Rosie, too.

I then saw Rosie's lawyer. Though she's a real looker, I would soon learn that she has no business being in a courtroom.

Rosie's sister, when she saw me, was visibly angry. Not only did she refuse to tell me who she was, but she also told me not to quote her. Then she went up and whispered to Rosie's lawyer, apparently about me.

When District Judge Capobianco came into the courtroom, the first thing this lawyer did was attempt to have me ejected from the courtroom because my mere presence was making the Defendant "very uncomfortable."

I get that a lot.

If Rosie is a second class citizen, I must be third class.

The Judge asked Rosie whether she had asked me to come. She answered Yes.

The Judge then asked whether my presence made her uncomfortable. She answered No.

So I was allowed to stay, but was never called as a witness. Nor was the other business owner, whom I later learned was actually there, like me, to speak on behalf of Rosie.

This lawyer, if I can call her that, failed to call either one of us, even though reputation testimony, by itself, is enough to raise a reasonable doubt. She failed to object to clear hearsay testimony and never bothered to interrogate the motives of the Officer. Worst of all, she made no legal argument. Rosie was charged under a provision of the Crimes Code which requires repeated acts or a course of conduct, not just one isolated incident. Rosie, who was distraught, was unable to do little more than deny that she had yelled at this gentleman. So it's no surprise that the Rose of Nazareth was convicted. But Judge Capobianco, who was total class in this matter, was aware that something was off about this prosecution. He reduced the fine to $100.

The attorney traipsed off for a manicure. She did not represent Rosie, but her sister.

I confronted Chief Trachta after the hearing for wasting the Commonwealth's resources in what really is a "he said, she said" harassment. He told me police officers file harassment charges all the time based solely on the bare allegations made by the victim, with no corroborating evidence. That is nonsense, and is in fact contrary to police policy. But Trachta, I soon learned, isn't interested in listening to anyone but himself.

He also discounted what the former business owner had to say as well, though she did not get to say much. It's hard to talk with Trachta constantly interrupting. I eventually walked out, but not until I told him that his department did a real disservice to the community. I also told the chief that I doubt Rosie will appeal, but will encourage her to do so, and if she does, will find her a real lawyer.

On Wednesday night, Lower Nazareth officials voted 3-2 against replacing a professional and accredited police department with a mess like Nazareth. Hopefully, they will think long and hard before making that mistake.


Anonymous said...

Bernie, this case is troubling, at a minimum. This is how totally screwed up the public sector is. Even the good guys go wrong following the manual.

Trachta can get defensive, and he has his officers' back until you prove otherwise, but he has always, ALWAYS, been professional, courteous and respectful. My experience is more like yours when you blogged about the jaywalking deal and how well they treated you awhile back.

That Chief is accountable to the people of that borough, through their council and face to face. The guy worked a long time with no contractual protection, for an economically challenged employer. More like a cop you see in the movies than at a meeting with his wife begging for his job. I'd take him and his bunch, with all their warts, over the well-dressed and armored (for what, chasing AND LOSING a guy in a cornfield?) "Best in the LV".

I'm not questioning your experience, but Trachta may just have have had a bad day here. You live in the Borough, and you know the big picture better than I do, but I think you are better off than we are.


Anonymous said...

Interesting story. I may have crossed paths with Rosie one day a month ago - I made a passing comment to a woman walking a dog on Broad St, and she said affably "oh, the 'dogs' aren't mine - I just walk them!"

I compare this harassment claim to the ones made by Dees and the allegedly overweight clerk against the cRaZy witch of West Easton (for the record, cRaZy calls all women fat to improve her own image above its baseline of so far over the hill it's in Death Valley). I was a bit surprised that cRaZy lost her case, since it was made up of allegations like "she called me a fucking bitch" and "I feel unsafe when cRaZy bangs her can against the window and goes into tirades at the mention of the name Peter Layman." Of course there was that part of throwing someone into the river - but I don't believe that was the clerk. The items in the file detailing her collection debts was interesting. Someone like her shouldn't throw stones at others for bankruptcy (which she also has done) and not paying debts.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Clem, I don't think the good guys followed the manual. This should have been a private prosecution, subject to approval by the DA.

I have no problem with the rank and file cops in Nazareth, who have always been pretty decent fellows. But I pity them after speaking to Trachta. He clearly is interested in only what he has to say.

I don't think the Chief has worked terribly hard. There have been numerous instances in which there was no police coverage at all, and PSP have had to be called during his tenure. He is the guy who made Nazareth a laughing stock over a TV at the station. He is the guy whose police department "forgot" to post no parking signs before a parade. He appears to me to be a game player, not a professional. He worked without a contract bc the borough was getting ready to dump him. That stopped with Strye.

I question the real reason for this prosecution. I suspect it might have something to do with the fact that Rosie is one of the persons who knows about a Trachta favorite conducting an affair while on duty.

When you don't have a professional accredited department like Colonial Regional, this is what you have.How much money has Nazareth lost on goofy worker comp cases and lawsuits? How much money has been spent in arbitrations?

All of this is both costly and time-consuming. That is why the Wind Gaps and Nazareths are better off regionalizing. It insulates local officials from the drama that prima donnas like Trachta can bring to a police department.

Bernie O'Hare said...

12:44, Those matters were both private prosecutions approved by the DA, which proves my point.

The matter involving the death threat was brought by EPD. That was only bc the officer warned her that if he was called to deal with another tirade at borough hall, he would charge her.

It does sound like you crossed paths with Rosie.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the TV thing was a DOH! for sure. But, they do bust building exploding meth heads, heroin dealers and murderers. I'm willing to give them a little slack. Having a pair earns you a little respect.

Don't get too hopped up on the accredited thing. Like the Pulitzers, a bunch of momos, or in this case, fellow feeders, heaping distinction upon their brethren, whose value to those who pay for their services declines exponentially, should be taken in context.

You don't through the baby out with the bathwater. Smaller and locally controlled feeder units are more accountable and deliver more value, unless you've got enablers in elected office.

Enablers in elected office, hmmmmmm...


Anonymous said...

throw. it's late.


Anonymous said...

MezzacRaZY needs her meds.

Anonymous said...

Sure would like to know the name of the business so I can share with my family & friends?

Anonymous said...

Nothing worse than a NY flunkie bully cop in small town Mayberry RFD!

Anonymous said...

This makes me angry to hear this story. I stop in town to patronize some of these businesses and often see this woman walking through town. She is extremely nice and always says hello to me even though I don't know her. I highly doubt she would harass anyone. Nazareth wants to attract more downtown business well this isn't the way to do it. I tried using a hair saloon only to come out to a $15.00 parking ticket. In fact with the congestion and the bridge repair I totally avoid going into town anymore, so my money is being spent elsewhere. What happened to justice, this is really SAD to do this to her. Carl Strye should see what he is dealing with now, a bunch of power thugs!

Anonymous said...

@9:23 Your spelling errors and substance, fit the mold of the cRaZy woman. Maybe you are impersonating her or actually you are her. You criticize Bernie for NOT identifying someone by name? Isn't this a WHOLE lot better than libeling someone and losing your house?

Bernie made specific criticisms, from a legal standpoint, of the deficiencies in Rosie's representation. And they sound justified and accurate. He knows what he is talking about, while you sound like someone who dreams about being a lawyer instead of an asshole, and has been spending her days for 3 years now tracking IP hits to her hate blog, and has the hypocrisy to use the word hypocrisy while alleging someone who maintains a legitimate opinion and news blog is running a hate blog. You and cRaZY need serious psychological help. Too bad you can't mortgage CrAzy's house - her credit is shot.

Anonymous said...

What is the name of the business that made the complaint?

Anonymous said...

@12:47 Bernie - Plainfield Twp had a somewhat similar MO, in that the vast majority of officers were great guys, but they had Ceraul for a chief. There were several rumored serious issues with Ceraul's leadership and actions for years, and Plainfield finally fired him while working on the plan to go regional with WG and PA. A regional department would seem to be more likely to avoid the coziness of these small town departments.

The Complex Triathlete said...

This is a repost of a comment I made on yesterday's discussion on the CRP as I think it is relevant to the discussion here:

Bernie, I have only commented here a few times but I feel like I have to today. In a post this morning about a harassment charge you referred to the Colonial Regional Police as "professional and accredited" vs. the Nazareth police force which you referred to as "a mess." The implication of this statement was that what happened in Nazareth couldn't happen with the CRP.

Sadly, you are wrong and I am the proof. In 2008 I was falsely accused of harassment and stalking based on the word of one individual. At the beginning of my sage Police Chief Seiple personally showed up at my house to accuse me of something I didn't do, told me I should apologize to said individual, and that he didn't need any proof other than this individual's word. I told him a much different story and asked to have my statement taken for the record. He refused to do this and when I went to the station in the following days to do just that, my request was outright refused.

Over the next 14 months I had no contact with this person other than one time when I passing him while out on my morning run. Which is when my problems really began.

A few days later a CRP detective showed up at my workplace with a blatantly false statement and telling me that they would be arresting me shortly. I asked him if he had any proof, any actual evidence, and he told me that the statement of the individual was all that he needed. A few days later I was arrested on these false charges.

Long story short, I do have a very good lawyer and was willing to fight the charges. A few months later all charges were dropped.

Why were the charges even brought up? Because of who the other individual happened to be. That individual was as Northampton County Judge. Why were they dropped? Because they were bogus. If they were legit, certainly they would have thrown the book at me, the accuser, after all, is a judge.

How might we know that I'm not the crazy or non-corrupt one? One of the things I was accused of was "false pleasantries" (I kid you not). I was also falsely accused of running his family off the road 6 months before my arrest. That sounds serious until you take into account that there was never a police report filed when the alleged incident occurred and, one would think, that charges of trying to run a family walking on the street off the road would would lead one to call the police and file a police report - at the time of the incident. Especially if that person making the accusations is concerned with "false pleasantries."

So yes, Bernie, CRP are accredited, but, at least from my experience, they are no better than a police force you refer to as "a mess." In the case of the CRP, my experience has led me to conclude that the right term is a fair bit stronger than "a mess."

P.S. I have no problem discussing this in further detail offline and off the record if, Bernie, you need more proof of what I am telling you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I deleted a number of comments that were obviously from Mezzacappa. I am not naming names in this story. Rosie's last name is kept off. So is the name of the business. he will learn about this post sometime today, and when he reads it, he can ask himself why he has a problem with Rosie that no other business has ever had. I believe he over-reacted and was coddled by cops. As for the lawyer, I should name her bc she is that bad. No one should use her for any case that involves an appearance in court. I am not naming her bc this story is not about her but about what the poklice in Nazareth.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Complex, I think we'd all agree that any police department would be concerned about harassment against a judge and would take his word. Judges have too often been the victim of all kinds of violence by disgruntled litigants and in some cases, people with a chip on their shoulder. So I believe an accredited police department should in fact charge you if a judge starts telling them that you are trying to run their family off the road and other outrageous things. But i believe you were exonerated, which means police treated you fairly. Also, you had a good lawyer. So I don't consider you an exception. Also, i do not wish to discuss your case.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Bernie's keen observation. Transplants with thick accents are just no damn good. We don't need their kind around here.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I never said that. What I said is that the Chief of the Nazareth PD is a NYC transplant with a thick accent. He does not live here, has no understanding of this community, has refused to hire borough residents but instead hires part-timers who do masonry work for him. No, we don't need guys like Trachta.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Plainfield Twp had a somewhat similar MO, in that the vast majority of officers were great guys, but they had Ceraul for a chief. There were several rumored serious issues with Ceraul's leadership and actions for years, and Plainfield finally fired him while working on the plan to go regional with WG and PA. A regional department would seem to be more likely to avoid the coziness of these small town departments."

Police problems like those that existed in Plainfield or Nazareth can paralyze a local government. I have heard lots of negative things about Trachta before yesterday, but have to see these things for myself. Wow! What an arrogant and bull-headed person. I couldn't believe this is how he talks to people. It was not just me, but a woman who was a business owner.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" Zito made the right choice when he had you marched out of courtroom 4, escorted by a sheriff."

This never happened and it appears that someone is now being delusional.

Anonymous said...

@12:06 Oh contrare, O'Hare! cWAZYchiCKen has just posted her own WHacky version of events regarding your marching orders on her blog, because as we know she claims that there is where everything is exposed and the truth is told like on Nancy Grace. Except for feedback which is on topic, which she doesn't allow the way that you do.

The fact that none of the things she is talking about are pertinent to current events is another matter. She's locked in the past.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I just saw her wacky post. It never happened. I have never been ejected from a courtroom by anyone. That person is just incapable of telling the truth, which is why there is a $67,989.83and growing defamation verdict against her.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that compassionate people should shop at this individuals store! What is the business name?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am not naming him bc I am a compassionate person. I believe he
misinterpreted Rosie's remark, which was made to her friend in jest and not to him. There is no reason his business should suffer bc of a simple misunderstanding.

Anonymous said...

Man up bitch!!!

Anonymous said...

You and Peter Cockburn should be tazed

Bernie O'Hare said...

So much for your compassion.

Anonymous said...

Here it is.
I am done shopping in Nazareth. Small town thug cop. Business and dog owners that don't feel enough outrage to at least write letters.
There are lots of other places to go.

Anonymous said...

"Bernie O'Hare said...

I never said that."

Every liberal who read what you wrote truly believes you did, and they can make a twisted case, and bray about it loud enough and for long enough a time that it could become the "truth".

When are you gonna learn about them, and their lite version moderate Rs.

High, your midi-chlorian count is.

Turn away from the dark side, you must.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like there is a lot more to this story then meets the eye.

Anonymous said...

Clem, Grow the Hell up and learn to live in the real world.

Anonymous said...

Come on, asshole. It's Friday night, we've duked it out all week.

Lighten the fuck up. Better yet, tell mommy your oversoaked huggie is chafing you worse than Clem's posts.

She loves you, she'll get you a new one. And, probably, some ice cream to boot.


Bernie O'Hare said...

"Sounds like there is a lot more to this story then meets the eye."

There is, and it's a misguided police chief who looks down on the very people who make this a good community.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post Bernie, though I don't always agree with some of your stances on things, I will stand by you on the POLICE issue. I've had numerous run ins with some of these Borough Bullies myself. I've called the Chief out before on things within the borough and he doesn't care. I don't hold a grudge against all the officers, just a few and they know who they are.

What gets me, is that kids run around this town when they're suppose to be getting an education and all the 5-0 say is I can't arrest her or she has family here. I can here this individual swear and say obscene things to the cops, HARASSMENT! Yet, the kind officers refuse to do anything about it. This is why Nazareth is going to "HELL"!
Try and file a complaint against an officer, the chief will over look the whole thing or say "Oh I never Got it!" typical for a corrupt NYPD Cop! Why are our police at WAWA? Coffee? No, they flirt with people while they're there, not for 5 minutes but for 1 hour or more while the borough residents are left unguarded.
Thank you for this post Bernie, if your looking to do an all out article about the 5-0 ask your friend in the article how to get a hold of me and I'll gladly help you put one together.