Archive: July, 2013
A former Chester County prison lieutenant -- already charged in the alleged sexual abuse of two young girls -- is facing another wave of charges related to the sexual abuse of five more children.
Leroy Mitchell, 60, of West Bradford, took in more than 50 foster children over the years. Three of the five children mentioned in the new charges were once foster children in his care. The five victims were between three and 10 years old when the alleged abuse occured, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said.
Hogan said in a release that Mitchell allegedly plied victims with food and candy to "reward" them during the abuse, and added that one of the five victims named in the latest set of charges was allegedly abused as early as 1966, when the child was five and Mitchell was a teenager.
Police are investigating a July 29 shooting in Caln that wounded a Coatesville man.
Gupree White, 25, of Coatesville, was shot once by an "unknown caliber handgun" at around 10:40 p.m. on July 29, Caln police said. The incident occurred in a car on the 100 block of Foundry Street.
White was a passenger in the car, police said, but they didn't specify who was with him or who was driving the vehicle. Police have not yet located the shooter and are continuing to investigate, they said.
West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta has just released the results of a community conversation the borough held back in May on residents' satisfaction with the county seat. Among the positive feedback: West Chester residents like the borough's diversity, "lively downtown," "tree-lined streets" and burgeoning arts scene.
But suggestions for borough-wide improvement tend to reflect some quality of life issues that residents have raised over the past year. Improvements requested by residents include "addressing late night noise and bar traffic issues" (which we've written about in the past) and "fostering an ongoing relationship with West Chester University to address mutual interests" -- namely, making sure rental properties are in good shape.
Residents also suggested increasing affordable housing availability, adding parking meters that accept credit cards and improving public transportation options for going in and out of the borough. And though they appreciate the retail downtown, they're also looking for more food shopping options (preferably, a Trader Joe's) and even asked the borough to consider converting Gay Street, a main thoroughfare, into a pedestrian mall.
Chester County's Health Department has selected a public health official from Georgia to replace its outgoing department director, who recently retired.
County officials said Jeanne Casner, of Atlanta, will take the place of outgoing director Margaret Rivello. Casner has 20 years of experience in the public health realm, they said in a release, including stints at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness and the healthcare technology group Keane, Inc.
The Pennsylvania State Police will be cracking down on aggressive driving on U.S. Rt. 30 throughout the state this week.
The Highway Enforcement of Agressive Traffic (HEAT) initiative will focus on Rt. 30 from the Ohio border to the New Jersey border for the next five days, using helicopters and "fixed-wing aircrafts" to spot aggressive drivers. They'll also target speeders and aggressive drivers in work zones with help from local police.
Officials said Rt. 30 has seen about 9,800 crashes and 96 fatalities statewide since 2008. In the counties surrounding Philadelphia -- Chester, Delaware and Montgomery -- there have been 2,367 crashes and seven deaths in the same time period.
The Chester County district attorney's office is adding a new detective to their investigative division, replacing a detective who retired last year.
Robert Balchunis, who hails from the West Goshen Police Department, will be assigned to the Chester County Detectives' Major Case Squad. Balchunis has been a police officer for 15 years and previously worked for the Westtown-East Goshen police department before moving to West Goshen. He was named Westtown-East Goshen's Officer of the Year in 2001 and 2012, the district attorney's office said.
In a press release, District Attorney Tom Hogan said Balchunis was "well respected by law enforcement throughout Chester County" and "a perfect fit" for the unit.