Thursday, February 5, 2009

Judge Took Bribes to Send Children to a Privately Owned Juvenile Detention Center

I need some feedback.. and help with this issue.. so if possible my regular readers .. read the entire thing.. including my plea for help at the end...

Last night .. I came home from spending the day at court.. with yet another family dealing with an ACS (aka child services) case and I found an email from a woman I had never met or corrosponded with before who lived on Staten Island and had a friend who's son was being abused or so she felt by the Staten Island Family Court...

My case is on Staten Island.. and as any reader of this blog knows.. I can't trash those Staten Island judges enough.. using their full names every chance I get.

Anywho.. this good friend... of the victim mother.. was searching for a particular judge on Staten Island who she and her friend.. the victim mother.. believes is EVIL! (note here.. I left all names out .. names of the concerned friend and the mothers name and type of case .. this was done intentionally- we wouldn't want the evil judge that this latest family, myself and at least three other of my readers have had the displeasure of being dehumanized and abused by to figure out who I am talking about)

Ok so... why am I sharing this if I wont reveal the details?

Well.. FOLLOW THE MONEY was what I told her.. simply follow the money!

I told her that her friends story was outrageous.. and I had never heard of such a thing happening.. I then asked her to ask her friend or to do it herself.. to look into federal funding and see if it applied to the families type of case..

End of that convo.. my phone died and we pretty much had already gotten all the juicy stuff cleared up by that point..

So.. this morning.. I'm reading through my emails again and low and behold .. I find a story that was somewhat similar to this families story..

Judges Took Bribes to Send Children to Privately OwnedJuvenile De… « Mothers Justice- Initiative Project

Hmmm sometimes the money isn't as easy to follow when it's a back room deal huh?

I'd still like to know if Federal funding plays a part in this families heartache.. I hope she does some homework and follows up!

REFRESH - Go to Home-Page

State may compensate juveniles sentenced by judges in Luzerne

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

By Tracie Mauriello, Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG — State lawmakers are seeking ways to compensate children sent to detention centers by a pair of Luzerne County judges charged with taking kickbacks for sending juvenile defendants to facilities in Luzerne and Butler counties.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Stewart Greenleaf said yesterday he would hold a hearing to find ways to help the children and their families. One option is to provide money from the crime victims compensation fund, said Mr. Greenleaf, R-Montgomery.

The hearing, which has not yet been scheduled, is at the request of Republican Sens. Lisa Baker and John Gordner, whose districts include parts of Luzerne County.

They made the request yesterday, the same day a third Luzerne County court official was arrested in the ongoing corruption probe

Court Administrator William T. Sharkey Sr., 57, of West Hazelton, yesterday agreed to plead guilty to embezzling more than $70,000 in illegal gambling money seized by authorities between June 1998 and June 2008.

Two other county court officials were charged last week with fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Judge Mark A. Ciavarella and former Senior Judge Michael T. Conahan are accused of taking $2.6 million for sending children to two facilities owned by Pittsburgh businessman Greg Zappala.

Judges Ciavarella and Conahan each could face prison terms of up to seven and three months, according to the terms of plea agreements they signed last week.

No charges have been filed against Mr. Zappala, who is the brother of Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. and son of former state Supreme Court Justice Stephen A. Zappala Sr.

Meanwhile, the state Supreme Court has agreed to review all juvenile cases adjudicated in Luzerne County during in the last five years.

That’s good news to parents such as Susan Mishanski, whose 17-year-old son was sentenced by Judge Ciavarella last year to 90 days in a juvenile facility in Carbon County.

She said the punishment was excessive and that it traumatized her son, a first-time offender who was expecting community service or a fine for punishing another boy last year. Instead, he was taken from the courtroom in shackles and brought to Camp Adams, where he was beaten by other teenagers, forced to wear ripped clothes four sizes too big and permitted visitors only twice a month for an hour, she said.

"He was humiliated and he was scared," said Ms. Mishanski of Luzerne County. "I’m absolutely thrilled now that [these judges] got caught."

Judges Ciavarella and Conahan are scheduled to enter pleas Feb. 12 in U.S. District Court in Scranton.

Mr. Ciavarella, who stepped down as president judge but remains on the court, is continuing to receive a salary of $161,850, although he has been stripped of his judicial powers. Under the terms of his plea agreement, be must resign within 10 days of pleading.

His salary had been $163,260 but was reduced by $1,410 when he stepped down as president judge.

The Supreme Court last week revoked Judge Conahan’s certification as senior judge, a designation given to retired judges who agree to temporary fill in at county courthouses as needed.

Judge Conahan retired in January 2008. He received $39,387 in per-diem pay for work between June 2008 and January 2009, according to records of the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. It was not clear if he received payments in the first half of last year.

Mr. Sharkey could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 in fines. As part of the plea agreement, he also must pay $71,000 in restitution and resign within 10 days of entering a plea.

Judges Took Bribes to Send Children to Privately OwnedJuvenile De… « Mothers Justice- Initiative Project

Plea for help..

Has anyone heard of insane unjust stories where children are being put into juvi detention for the possible federal funding incentives such as child protective services Title IV D and E?

Check this out... I did a little background work for the above family and came up with this..

Department Of Juvenile Justice

"Bridges also houses state-ready youths awaiting transfer to facilities operated by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS)."

Which means they are more than likely getting federal funding.. as are ACS and MANY IF NOT ALL .. catholic non profit org's that house foster children..

THEY ARE (Spotford and others) FINANCIALLY CONNECTED TO ACS who work under or with (who knows anymore) -New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS)!!!!!!

OK THIS IS BEYOND INSANE!! When or where will it end.. or how much worse is it going to get???

Who else can make money off our children or how many other ways are they going to torture out them for the money the states get as an "incentive" or as I like to think of it .. a kick back??

Related story ? ?

Summoned to truancy court? Diboll Free Press

"We have several remedies for dealing with truant students and contributing parents. These include fines, community service, parents accompanying the student to each of his classes, dispatching the court constable to deliver the child to school, court ordering drug testing if drug use is suspected and even jail time in certain situations. "


Anonymous said...

Louise...follow the money is soo true! You are on the money! God only knows whose pocket was lined with a few days in spotford at the cost of some heartbreak on a family. I cant wait for it to all be over or at least figure out a plan or where I stand with this...Anonymity is not a favorite past time of mine and I cant wait to be able to speak freely! Thank you for your support and Hon...right back atcha!

Anonymous said...

Is Pennsylvania a Pro-Pedophile State?
By Mike Ference

PA State Rep. Lisa Bennington, D-Allegheny County, held a press on May 12, 2008, in Harrisburg, PA to discuss House Bill 1137, legislation known as the Child Victim’s Act of Pennsylvania, which addresses statute of limitations and identifying sex abusers.

If the bill passes, it would change the age at which a civil suit could be filed from until the accuser is 30 to 50, bringing the civil statute of limitations in line with the criminal statute. The bill would also suspend the civil statute of limitations for two years in child sex abuse cases in which the statute has expired so that people over the age limit could file a suit. And it would allow the filing of such actions against child sex abusers and their enablers in both public and private institutions.

According to Bennington, it’s the private institutions where offenders have been allowed to move on and continue with their lives. “Their victims have been left behind to pick up the pieces, never getting their day in court and or a chance to see justice carried out. They live with this horrific crime for the rest of their lives,” she points out.

A 2005 Philadelphia Grand Jury Report uncovered 63 priests in the Philadelphia archdiocese who had abused hundreds of children over several decades. In some cases, archdiocese leaders intentionally concealed the abuse to protect the church.

And Bennington stresses, her bill does not target the Catholic Church. Rather, “it pertains to all religious institutions, public schools, youth groups and any organization where child sex abuse has occurred. This bill would give all Pennsylvania victims their fundamental right to hold those accountable that afflicted or allowed the abuse to occur.”

Sounds reasonable and seems like a good thing. Similar legislation has passed in California and Delaware in recent years. In California, about 1,000 victims came forward and 300 predators were identified. Yet, there’s one PA lawmaker who strongly opposes the legislation and doesn’t even intend to give the bill a hearing.

State Rep. Thomas R.Caltagirone D., (Berks County), the House Judiciary Committee chairman, says the proposed bill is driven by victims’ desire to win large legal payouts. Caltagirone goes on to say the bill is all about money, not about justice.

Ironically, Caltagirone was quick to vote with fellow legislators for a 50 percent increase in their pensions in 2001 and the infamous middle of the night pay raise in 2005. The state rep along with other lawmakers chose to take the self-induced pay grab immediately in unvouchered expenses. Many PA residents felt this made the elected officials look like money-hungry crooks, as it was eventually declared unconstitutional.

As expected, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference deplores the bill. Choosing to continue to protect perverted priests, rather than seek justice. Likewise, the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania is also against the bill. And while Caltagirone has officially declared HB1137 dead, his puppy-protection bill seems to be racing for the finish line.

Could the PA state rep be more concerned about protecting puppies than innocent children abused as sex toys by grown men and women? His recently unveiled, HB 2532 which would forbid dog owners from performing surgery on their pups went before the Judiciary Committee on May 14 and could be voted on as early as June 10.

As someone who has been investigating clergy abuse in Pennsylvania for almost 20 years, this writer can’t help but thing that something is amiss.

On the eastern side of the commonwealth of PA the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office issued a scathing report on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for the high level of sexual abuse among Catholic priests and the cover ups and the reassigning of credibly accused Catholic priests by Cardinals Bevilacqua and Krol and their aides. It should be noted that Bevilacqua first served as Bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese before his transfer to Philadelphia. Insiders claim Bevilacqua left his successor, Donald Wuerl, quite a mess.

For example, while Bevilacqua was still assigned to the Pittsburgh Diocese he agreed to place Fr. John P. Connor, an admitted child molester first within the Pittsburgh Diocese and later, after Bevilacqua took over in Philadelphia Fr. Connor was assigned there. According to testimony in the Philadelphia Grand Jury the arrangement was based on a “tradition of bishops helping bishops.” Sadly, Fr. Connor went on to abuse others and Bevilacqua was found to be a liar according to the grand jury report.

One has to wonder why the Pittsburgh Diocese voluntarily settled with 32 alleged survivors of clergy abuse. $1.25 million for crimes the Pittsburgh Diocese will never have to admit ever occurred. The settlement would not tarnish the stellar reputation of Archbishop Donald Wuerl who never had to pay a dime to any clergy abuse victims during his tenure as bishop in the Pittsburgh Diocese.

Oddly enough, an underling – so to speak – Auxiliary Bishop Bradley reconciled the situation, only weeks before Bishop David Zubik was to be installed as the new leader of the diocese. So it seems everything fell into place.

Thirty-two survivors received a few bucks, the diocese is off the hook for any future civil or maybe even criminal suits based on the settlement. Wuerl continues to do in Washington D.C. whatever it is that Archbishops do and Zubik was allowed to get a fresh start in the Pittsburgh Diocese without the interference of those civil suits that were resting in limbo for several years.

The settling of the civil suits certainly allowed for an impressive and dignified installation of Bishop Zubik, no hecklers or demonstrators from any groups with compassion for children sexually abused by Catholic priests.

And, although I have no proof, nor anyway to calculate, I would be willing to bet the farm that more money was spent on Zubik’s festivities than was awarded to 32 survivors of alleged abuse by Catholic priests from the Pittsburgh Diocese. No big deal, the worst is over.

Unless of course, somewhere down the road – maybe a year, a few months, a couple of weeks, or perhaps in the next few days – information turns up that the cases of sexual abuse actually occurred and that cover ups were the norm in the Pittsburgh Diocese just like cover ups and shifting priests from parish to parish was the norm in the archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Anyone with a little common sense would be concerned that a man of the cloth might be tempted to hide crimes of clergy sexual abuse of young children only on the eastern side of the commonwealth of PA and not the western side as well.

That’s a lot of ifs ands or buts – only time will tell if Pennsylvania is indeed a pro-pedophile state. For now it’s three cheers for Rep Bennington and HB 1137 as for Rep. Caltagirone – one politician who obviously cares more about dogs than children – maybe it’s time for the law maker to rollover and play dead.
Mike Ference is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker and amateur investigative
reporter who has been probing clergy abuse in Pennsylvania for almost 20
years. He’s currently sharing details about his investigation with
Pennsylvania State Trooper John Woodruff. Is a formal investigation
forthcoming? Only time will tell. Mike Ference may be reached at
412-233-5491 or email him at

Anonymous said...

For immediate release
Mike Ference
817 Worthington Avenue
Clairton, PA 15025

Citizen Investigator Won’t Be Silent on Western PA Childhood Sexual Abuse. Speaking Engagements Will Detail 20-Year Investigation.

Pittsburgh, PA —February 4, 2009 – Catholic clergy childhood sexual abuse and cover-ups were seldom discussed before the Boston Archdiocese scandal broke around Cardinal Bernard Law’s mishandling of pedophile priests like John Geoghan, Paul Shanley, and others. According to Mike Ference, who began investigating similar issues in Western Pennsylvania after his son was shot by a boy believed to have been abused by a priest, that silence was, and is, a large part of the problem.

“Abuse has been documented for centuries,” he explains. “And one reason it continues is that too many people remain silent, look the other way, or, worst of all, actively engage in a cover-up. The primary culprit may be the church hierarchy, but the problem extends to individual parishioners, law enforcement officials, politicians, journalists. Even today, the civil liberties of victimized children and their families are often deliberately ignored.”

Ference believes in straightforward legal solutions advanced by people like Marci A. Hamilton, a leading U.S. church/state scholar and expert on federalism and representation. “In Hamilton’s book, Justice Denied, she says that childhood sexual abuse in the United States is a silent epidemic because of a legal system that is not effectively protecting children from predators,” Ference says. “Her solution is simple and direct — broaden or eliminate the statute of limitations for sex abuse crimes against children as one means of restoring civil rights.”

Based on his 20-year investigation revolving around clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups, Ference asserts that the civil liberties of abused children and their families often fall prey to the Catholic hierarchy’s ability to lure individuals into silence, influence law enforcement authorities, and manipulate the justice system. “Again and again, my investigation has turned up evidence of system-wide cover-ups — and individuals unwilling to confront the authority of the church and tell the truth. Many people I’ve contacted seemed afraid to discuss anything related to the church,” he says.

With no police badge, or even a press pass, Ference has had little leverage to encourage people to talk. But driven by a desire to prevent others from suffering, he has persevered, piecing together a disturbing matrix of clergy-related abuse, corruption, and cover-ups involving multiple positions of authority in Western Pennsylvania. While he has distributed and published some of this information in the past, he believes the climate is now right to begin telling his story to targeted audiences and the public through a series of speaking engagements.

“Enough information has surfaced in the past few years that all but those deepest in denial now admit that the Catholic church hierarchy has systematically shuffled pedophile priests from one assignment to another, often placing more innocent children in harm’s way,” he says. “It’s sad that it has taken this long, and this much evidence, to get people to remove their blinders, but people are now more receptive to my investigation — they believe it because they’re hearing similar stories from all over the country. The tragedy is that in the 20 years I’ve tried to draw attention to this problem, it is likely that there were more victims who could have been saved if officials I sought help from had done their jobs,” he concludes.

Given people’s reticence to talk about abuse within the church, Ference acknowledges that he has often had to focus more on raising questions that need to be answered than on proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. “You be the judge,” he tells listeners when relating his 20-year ordeal following the attempted murder of his son Adam on a Catholic school bus. “Did the McKeesport police do everything they could to protect civil rights and perhaps the lives of other innocent folks? Currently, McKeesport is being sued in two separate filings in federal court for civil rights violations in the famous Tanya Kach case — a fourteen-year-old girl taken and held captive for almost a decade by a school security guard with close ties to several police officers on the McKeesport force. Is that a coincidence — or a trend that has been going on for years?”

Ference points out that after his son was shot, McKeesport police were not permitted to investigate the crime scene for over 24 hours according to then Police Chief Thomas Brletic. “You can read that in the police report for yourself,” he says, adding that it took him almost 19 years to gain access to the report. “Current McKeesport Mayor Jimmy Brewster refused to hand it over even after the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office insisted. Brletic also told me during an interview that Pittsburgh Diocese spokesperson Father Ronald Lengwin pressured him to close the case prematurely. After a phone conversation with Brletic, McKeesport Detective Brian Washowich told me there needs to be a grand jury investigation into my story.”

Ference adds that an insider tip was an early motive for his investigation. “Soon after Adam was shot, Clairton Public Safety Director William Scully approached my wife and me with inside details and handwritten notes and advised me to start my own investigation into the attempted murder. He openly admitted that the case had been quashed, but he was too afraid he would lose his job if he tried to take on the Catholic church,” Ference explains.

According to Ference, a critical aspect of Scully’s original notes and information referred to former Catholic priest John Wellinger possibly having sexually abused the boy who shot Adam, then killed himself. He adds that Wellinger was reported to the Pittsburgh Diocese in 1995 for allegedly sexually abusing Chris Mathews, an 11-year-old altar boy at Holy Spirit Church in West Mifflin. “The boy’s parents first met with current Pittsburgh Diocese Bishop Zubik to voice their concerns, but little was done. But as early as 1985 or 1986 Sister Dorothy Dolac reported John Wellinger to church hierarchy in the Pittsburgh Diocese for inappropriately touching young children. Yet, it wasn’t until 2003 that Pittsburgh Catholic (official publication of the Pittsburgh Diocese) acknowledged that a sexual abuse crime may have been committed,” he says. “By then, as with so many of these cases, the statute of limitations had expired for prosecuting the crime. Today, Wellinger lives just two blocks from the Clairton Education Center, a public school for children K though 12, and lives on his stipend from the Pittsburgh Diocese.”

Ference says the statute-of-limitations fight is another reason he is stepping forward to share the results of his investigation. “We need to help other children who may have been victimized and families who may have had their civil liberties violated. Pennsylvania should do as California, Delaware and many states have—open a window, preferably two years or more, to allow victims of childhood sex abuse to name and prosecute their abusers,” he says, adding that over 300 victims came forward in California. “One glance at the chilling results of the grand jury investigation into clergy abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and you know that crimes have been committed and covered up by the Catholic hierarchy. If we don’t address that, we’re complicit in those crimes.”

Ference is currently booking speaking engagements with interested community groups and organizations, but he hopes to eventually speak to journalism schools, law schools, law enforcement conventions, and a range of other audiences. “I have three goals in telling my story. First, to spread the word about civil rights violations, sometimes involving the very people who are supposed to protect those rights; second, to try and find solutions so these violations will be less likely to occur, regardless of the power, resources or influence of the offenders; and third, to establish a reporting and prosecuting window for sex abuse victims in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States,” he explains.

Ference says his investigation raises other disturbing questions: “Were law-makers and law enforcement officials compromised by Catholic church hierarchy who possessed information gleaned in the confessional?” he asks. “Did organized crime partner with the church hierarchy to influence law enforcement? I know that sounds like an episode of The Sopranos at first, but then you hear about the recent investigation involving former Catholic Archbishop Marcinkus, who may have ordered the kidnapping and murder of a mafia gang member’s daughter to squelch an investigation into the Vatican Bank. We have to investigate all the possibilities.”

Ference hopes that disclosing his evidence will inspire investigators with more experience and resources to begin digging for real answers to the questions he’s raised. And, he adds, “maybe telling my story will inspire others to step forward and share their stories of abuse and civil rights violations.”

To set up a speaking engagement or interview, or to review evidence from Ference’s 20-year investigation, contact Mike Ference at 412-233-5491 or