The Northeast Philadelphia man arrested Monday for impersonating a Catholic priest and deceiving the family of an injured police officer has also pretended to be a city firefighter, deputy chief of staff for Pennsylvania's speaker of the House, and president of his college's student body.
Paul N. Schlear Jr., 26, has been charged with criminal trespass and false impersonation for presenting himself as a cleric at the hospital bedside of Officer Richard Hayes.
Hayes suffered severe head injuries June 28 when he was struck by a car while on duty. He was in the intensive care unit at Aria Health-Torresdale Campus when Schlear admittedly arrived on two occasions in priest's garb, befriended the family, and prayed with them.
He also has been observed in the city wearing firefighter's gear, according to Executive Chief Daniel Williams of the Philadelphia Fire Department.
On at least one occasion, Williams said, Fire Commissioner Lloyd M. Ayers confronted Schlear and told him to "take that [gear] off."
Schlear's MySpace page - featuring prominent photographs of firefighters and a fireman's hat - also identifies him as having been State Rep. Dennis O'Brien's deputy chief of staff when O'Brien was speaker of the House.
O'Brien said in a phone message on Monday that Schlear was never a staffer and that he had only ever come to O'Brien's office, for "personal issues."
Schlear's MySpace page also claims he has two master's degrees from Holy Family University and was its student body president in 2004.
Naomi Hall, communications director for Holy Family, said yesterday that Schlear attended the university "sporadically" but did not graduate. She said he was one of four students who represented the junior class one year in student government.
Schlear studied briefly for the priesthood at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood in 2002 and 2003. In the last year, he appeared in white vestments at the funerals of two slain police officers - Sgt. Patrick McDonald in September and Officer John Pawlowski in February.
Philadelphia police detectives are investigating allegations that Schlear pretended to be a Catholic priest who was losing his home in order to borrow a large sum from a sympathetic restaurant owner, according to Lt. Frank Vanore, a department spokesman.
In May, JPMorgan Chase Bank foreclosed on Schlear's home in the 2900 block of Arlan Street for nonpayment of an outstanding mortgage of about $215,000.
In January 2008, following a civil suit, Common Pleas Court found him in default on a $74,000 personal loan made to him by a Philadelphia firefighter.
"We're still hoping to see something from him," said David Grunfeld, attorney for the plaintiff, John Grillone.
Schlear, whose MySpace page lists his occupation as "anything that comes my way" and his annual income between $75,000 and $100,000, could not be reached for comment. His telephone was disconnected.