AT FIRST, Dorian Parsley shrugged. The former civilian police dispatcher seemed at a loss for words at her sentencing hearing before a federal judge.
Then the words tumbled out. "I lost a lot of things," she said. "I continue to lose a lot of things."
She lost the trust of her daughter, mother and grandmother.
She told the judge she took cash bribes from tow-truck operators in exchange for secretly texting them accident locations and driver information "because I needed to take care of my family."
Parsley, 44, told the judge: "What I did was wrong. I have to pay for my actions. I'm sorry for what I did . . . and if I could go back and change it, I would."
After she sat down, she took off her glasses and wiped away tears.
U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno sentenced Parsley to 14 months in prison, below the advisory guideline range. He said a prison term was important to deter others, but took into account her cooperation with the feds.
Parsley was indicted in May along with William Cheeseman, co-owner of the K&B auto-body shop on Kinsey Street near Worth in Frankford, and two tow-truck operators, Stepfon Flowers and Chad Harris, who at times worked for K&B.
From 2011 to 2013, she took more than $35,000 in bribes from the three men.
In exchange, she secretly texted them the locations of car accidents, giving them an unfair advantage over other tow-truck operators. The city had instituted a new rotational-towing system in 2011 after a series of violent encounters among tow-truck operators competing for business. In 2010, a Philadelphia tow-truck driver killed a rival operator.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Brenner said Parsley, after being approached by the feds, provided "substantial information" to his office and the FBI, helping the investigation, including confirming the identities of two of her co-defendants, Flowers and Harris. She agreed to go undercover and wear a recording device, and had covertly taken bribes from Flowers and Cheeseman, he said.
Parsley pleaded guilty in July to one count each of conspiracy, solicitation of a bribe and honest-services fraud. Brenner said he believed her pleading guilty had prompted her co-defendants to also plead guilty in the case.
Parsley's attorney, Jonathan Sobel, said his client is a caring person and was for the most part a good city worker. Parsley will begin her prison sentence Dec. 5.