I was told last night of Mayor Riel’s comments to the Bradford Era.
In his statement, the Mayor labors to explain away my record of proven performance and trial success. But, what does he really know about my opponent?
Does the Mayor know that, my opponent was an Assistant District Attorney in McKean County from 2010-2014? Does the Mayor know that, as a prosecutor, my opponent lost many serious felony trials? Does the Mayor know that my opponent lost more sex crimes trials than he won? Is the Mayor aware that public records establish that, as a prosecutor, my opponent had a trial conviction rate of merely 52.5% -- barely better than flipping a coin?
Does the Mayor know that, in two 2012 cases, a defendant was charged with two (2) counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, nine (9) counts of aggravated and indecent assault, and fifteen (15) counts of indecent assault against a 14-year old girl from Bradford? My opponent prosecuted the defendant.
Does the Mayor know that, on the morning of trial, my opponent realized that he had made a fatal error in his preparation – and the trial had to be continued? Does the Mayor know that six (6) months later, just a few days before trial, my opponent filed to dismiss -- all twenty-six (26) sex crimes against the defendant?
Is the Mayor aware that, in another case, my opponent neglected to add eight (8) felony sex counts relating to sexual intercourse with a minor in Bradford - - even though he knew about these offenses? Is the Mayor aware that my opponent filed court documents to prosecute only the lesser charge of merely contacting the minor ? Is the Mayor aware that a City police officer attempted to correct my opponent’s error by later filing eight (8) felony sex counts against the defendant? Is the Mayor aware that my opponent’s error, in prosecuting the minor charge only, prevented the prosecution of the sex offenses- - on double jeopardy grounds?
Today, the Mayor purports to speak on behalf of most police officers. Yet, in the past three plus years, the Mayor has never once contacted me concerning his men or any of the alleged issues that he now raises.
The Mayor’s endorsement of a candidate is irrelevant to me, but, the fact that he purported to speak on behalf of law enforcement, was disheartening. I was comforted by the numerous phone calls that I received from officers across the County -- some speaking on behalf of themselves, and some offering me the support of their entire departments. I have been assured that Mayor Riel does not speak for them.
One text I received from a City police officer said: “I just wanted to tell you that Mr. Riel’s comments don’t represent me or other officers in our department and I don’t need anyone to speak for me.”.
Did the Mayor go to his police department this past Wednesday evening to check on the safety of his officers following a high speed chase down Congress Street that ended in Bradford Township? I know I did not see him when I was there checking on the safety of his officers. I wanted to assure myself that they were not minimizing their injuries just to ease my mind.
The office of District Attorney will not be diminished to a soap opera. The job requires I stay above political pressure - and I will do so— even if it’s election time.
Many police officers across the County have told me that Mayor Riel’s recent criticism of my administration may end up helping me after all. I wish to thank all of them for their kind thoughts.