Thursday, August 11, 2011
[PA] Instead of 39 year sentence, fired Officer Leach "eligible for release almost immediately"
Shillington Police Officer Michael Leach faced charges of criminal trespass, unlawful use of a computer, stalking, invasion of privacy and harassment.
...According to his attorney, Jay Kurtz, the plea was the result of an agreement with the state attorney general's office, that leaves Leach eligible for release almost immediately. Leach could have faced 39 years in prison...
...A West Reading woman has sued Shillington, its police chief and Michael Leach, a recently fired borough police officer, alleging that Leach invaded her privacy and stalked and harassed her. The suit also alleges that Chief T. Corey Yochimowitz knew Leach was harassing the woman and did nothing to stop it... "Defendant Leach had a global positioning system ("GPS") tracking device installed in Plaintiff Merkey's vehicle. Defendant Leach informed numerous other Police Officers and individuals about the installation of the GPS device. Utilizing the GPS device, Defendant Leach trailed and shadowed Plaintiff Merkey and learned her whereabouts and with whom she was associating..."
EX-SHILLINGTON OFFICER SENTENCED IN PLEA DEAL
Jason A. Kahl firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Excerpts] A former Shillington police officer charged with stalking a woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to harassment, invasion of privacy, unlawful use of a computer and related offenses. Michael J. Leach, 53, was sentenced by Berks Judge Scott D. Keller to six to 23 months in prison followed by three years of probation. According to his attorney, Jay Kurtz, the plea was the result of an agreement with the state attorney general's office, that leaves Leach eligible for release almost immediately. Leach could have faced 39 years in prison, Kurtz said... Leach entered the victim's home and, without her permission, used her computer and later accessed her email account. He also followed her more than once, placed a GPS tracking unit on her vehicle and gave her information he got from police computers. Merkey's suit alleges that Leach invaded her privacy and stalked and harassed her and that borough officials knew about it and did nothing.... [Full article here]
EXCERPTS FROM EARLIER ARTICLES:
POLICE SEEK INFO ON SHILLINGTON OFFICER CHARGED WITH STALKING
Published: Monday, January 31, 2011
Last Updated: Mon. Jan 31, 2011, 9:15am
[Excerpts] State police are seeking information on the whereabouts of Michael Joseph Leach, 53, of Shillington who failed to appear for a preliminary arraignment before Judge Kennedy in Reading. According to a press release from state police, Leach is charged with criminal trespass, unlawful use of a computer, stalking, invasion of privacy and harassment. The incidents for which he is charged occurred between March 16 and Sept. 21, 2009, throughout Berks County. Police said Leach was charged after he allegedly entered the victim's home and used her computer, and allegedly accessed her e-mail account without permission and forwarded personal e-mails to himself. Leach allegedly used his position as a police officer to obtain information on the victim... Leach also allegedly followed the victim when she went places and illegally placed a GPS device on the victim's car in order to track her whereabouts... Anyone with information on Leach should contact the state police... [Full article here]
EX-SHILLINGTON COP SKIPS DISTRICT COURT PROCEEDING
By Greta Cuyler
[Excerpts] A warrant was issued Monday for a former Shillington police officer after he failed to show up for a district court proceeding... [Michael J.] Leach was fired May 13, borough officials have said... It was unclear if the charges are related to a federal lawsuit filed in May 2010, in which a West Reading woman sued Shillington, its police chief and Leach... Alyssa Merkey, 34, alleged in the suit that police Chief T. Corey Yochimowitz knew Leach was harassing her and did nothing to stop it... Yochimowitz did not discipline Leach. Borough Manager Michael D. Mountz has said the borough will defend itself and Yochimowitz against the allegations... [Full article here]
FUGITIVE EX-SHILLINGTON OFFICER APPREHENDED IN GEORGIA
Michael Leach faces stalking charges
[Excerpts] U.S. marshals in Georgia arrested a former Shillington police officer wanted for skipping a hearing on charges he stalked a woman, state police at Reading said Friday. The marshals apprehended 53-year-old Michael J. Leach in Pine Mountain, according to Chief Deputy Neil Adams of the Harris County sheriff's office, which assisted federal officials... "The district attorney has informed authorities in Georgia that he will pursue extradition of Leach," said Trooper Collette Smith, the lead state police investigator... Troopers said the offenses were committed between March 16 and Sept. 21, 2009... [Full article here]
EX-SHILLINGTON COP WAIVES HEARING IN STALKING CASE
[Excerpts] A former Shillington police officer has waived a preliminary hearing on charges he stalked a woman, officials said Wednesday. Michael J. Leach, 53, waived a hearing before District Judge Wally Scott in Reading Central Court on Friday and was returned to Berks County Prison in lieu of $1 million bail. Leach, who lives in Shillington, was arrested last month in Pine Mountain, Ga., by U.S. marshals after a few weeks on the run, authorities said. He fled Berks County and failed to appear for a hearing Feb. 1... Leach also has been named in a federal lawsuit filed in May by a West Reading woman who alleged that Leach invaded her privacy and stalked and harassed her... In the lawsuit, Alyssa Merkey, 34, said Shillington police knew that Leach was harassing her and did nothing to stop it.... [Full article here]
WEST READING WOMAN SUES SHILLINGTON, POLICE CHIEF, RECENTLY FIRED OFFICER: Complaint says cop stalked, harassed victim; borough manager vows defense, says nothing else
[Excerpts] A West Reading woman has sued Shillington, its police chief and Michael Leach, a recently fired borough police officer, alleging that Leach invaded her privacy and stalked and harassed her. The suit also alleges that Chief T. Corey Yochimowitz knew Leach was harassing the woman and did nothing to stop it... [Borough Manager Michael D.] ... Mountz said Leach had been on the force for more than 10 years... Mountz said the borough would defend itself and Yochimowich against the allegations. He declined further comment... Leach used police resources to learn personal information about Merkey, her co-workers, friends and family... [Full article here]
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
ALYSSA MERKEY, Plaintiff,
THE BOROUGH OF SHILLINGTON, T. COREY YOCHIMOWICH, OFFICER MICHAEL LEACH,
CIVIL ACTION NO.:
JURY TRIAL DEMANDED
COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND
...Defendant [former Shillington Police Officer Michael] Leach, acting under the color of state law, deprived Plaintiff Merkey of her constitutional right to privacy as secured under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §1983 by, but not limited to, the following means, instrumentalities, and methods: utilizing police resources to access Plaintiff Merkey's driving record, citations, and similar information about her friends, co-workers, and acquaintances; disclosing private details about Plaintiff Merkey obtained through police resources; wielding his position as a Police Officer to interview, under false pretenses, persons who knew Plaintiff Merkey in order to elicit private information and cast aspersions on her sexual proclivities and inclinations, personal habits, health, and use of alcohol; trailing Plaintiff Merkey in a police vehicle while on duty; and by abusing his position to obtain Plaintiff Merkey's cellular telephone and house keys in order to call individuals in her telephone's contact list, enter her home, search her home, and access her e-mail to forward to himself private information and photographs from Plaintiff Merkey's personal e-mail account. The actions of Defendant Leach, as aforesaid, were willful, malicious, in bad faith and in reckless disregard of Plaintiff Merkey's rights, feelings, character, and reputation. Furthermore, the acts of Defendant Leach were carried out under the color and pretense of the statutes, ordinances, regulations and usages of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Borough of Shillington. As a direct result of the willful, wanton, reckless, careless and negligent acts of Defendant Leach, acting as aforesaid, Plaintiff Merkey has been exposed to public disgrace, injury to her good name and reputation, and subjected to humiliation among her friends, acquaintances and the community at large... Plaintiff Merkey has suffered severe emotional and psychological distress, discomfort, embarrassment, injury, pain and suffering... Plaintiff Merkey is entitled to punitive damages, in addition to compensatory damages, both of which she hereby claims of Defendant Leach... Defendant [Shillington Chief of Police T. Corey] Yochimowich, as the Chief of Police and acting supervisor to Defendant Leach, in failing to prevent the aforementioned pattern of illegal and unconstitutional conduct, exhibited active support and deliberate indifference to the police conduct and policies in violation of Plaintiff Merkey's constitutional right to privacy as secured under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and constituted a violation of 42 U.S.C. §1983... [Full lawsuit text here]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety pennsylvania state politics abuse of power teflon]