Thanks to Michael Clayton for putting on our radar a pair of stories from WNEP Channel 16. Just sick. One wonders whether such things would occur were it not for the perverse incentives inherent in the one-size-fits-all model of law enforcement today. I’d guess these individuals would have been held accountable long ago if they weren’t granted deference due to their costumes. -Pete
From May 9th:
Old Forge Police Chief Larry Semenza was arrested at his home by state police Wednesday on charges including indecent assault, indecent exposure and corruption of a minor.
“He was at his house, he was taken into custody without any incident. We did sound out extra troopers again, because he is a police officer, not knowing what could happen. We wanted to make sure everyone would be safe,” said Trooper Connie Devens.
According to court papers, Semenza began a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl while working at the Old Forge Fire Department and continued that relationship from 2004 to 2007. During that time, the girl told investigators Semenza “…would watch her as she showered.”
She said he also gave her a 14-karat gold ring.
“We are alleging that Chief Semenza had sexual contact with her during that period of time,” said Trooper Devens.
Last week, Old Forge Police Captain James Krenitsky was charged with having an inappropriate relationship with the same teen. So was Walter Chiavacci, a former Old Forge firefighter.
Investigators said both men told Semenza about the contact with the girl, but Semenza told no one and did nothing about it.
“We do have information that the chief knew about some of the other incidents that were occurring, but not everything, but I can’t give you specifics about what he knew, when he knew it,” said Devens.
The Old Forge sex abuse scandal took another turn Wednesday night with the arrest of the borough’s police chief.
He is now the third public servant from Old Forge charged with the sexual abuse of a teenage girl, and authorities now say their investigation is still not over.
A lot of speculation came to an end Wednesday night when state police arrested Old Forge Police Chief Larry Semenza after almost a week of being under investigation. Semenza is the third public servant to be charged with the alleged sexual abuse of a teenage girl
“At this point the investigation is ongoing. We will continue to follow up on all the leads that we’ve uncovered at this point. We continue to ask anyone with information to provide that information with either us or state police and the investigation will continue,” said Assistant District Attorney Jennifer McCambridge.
Officials with the Lackawanna County district attorney’s office, who have been heading up the investigation with state police, said they are still unsure if there will be more arrests wrapped up in the scandal, but there could be more victims and possibly more charges for Chief Semenza who is accused of sexual contact with a teenage girl between 2004 and 2007.
Police Captain James Krenitsky and former Old Forge firefighter Walter Chiavacci are also accused of sexually assaulting the same girl around that time.
Both Semenza and Krenitsky have been suspended without pay from the Old Forge Police Department. Officer Kim Buggey has been put in charge for the meantime as the rest of the department begins to recover.
“We had to fill the chief’s shift, so I moved to day side, and we had to fill the captain’s shift and my night-time shift, but we’re still functioning, we’re here still to help. This is hard on all of us but we have a community to protect and we will protect them,” said Officer Buggey.
Chief Semenza, police Captain Krenitsky and Walter Chiavacci have all been released from prison on bail.
Investigators are still asking anyone with information to call the Lackawanna County district attorney’s office or state police.