Allegheny County Police Commander alleged to have violated state wiretap laws, two lawsuits claim

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By Steve Pope | August 7, 2018

A Commander with the Allegheny County Police Department received and distributed private and personal text messages his ex-wife and another woman sent to friends while at River Casino in 2017, according to two separate lawsuits filed in Common Pleas Court.

The complaints say Scott Scherer, a county police commander, his attorney, Dennis McCurdy, several employees of Rivers Casino identified as John Does, as well as the casino itself violated the state Wiretap Act, when they used surveillance cameras to zoom in and capture text and email messages sent by the two women and by unlawfully disclosing the contents of the messages to unauthorized persons.

The court filings do not identify Mr. Scherer as a police officer and he is not being sued in his official capacity as a county employee.

The first lawsuit which was filed Friday afternoon, claims that Mr. Scherer received messages sent by Hayley Clerici, his ex-wife, after Mr. McCurdy, who is representing him in a custody case filed in Butler County, subpoenaed the records from Rivers Casino, the filing states.

According to the lawsuits, the disclosure of the actual messages were not in compliance with the subpoena because, “the subpoena requested video surveillance recordings from September 21 and 22, 2017, while the recordings disclosed by Rivers Casino were made on October 28, 2017.”

After receiving the messages, Mr. Scherer then shared them with others in violation of state wiretap laws, the filing alleges.  “In late 2017, Scherer ultimately received the recordings of Plaintiff’s text messages and/or email communications and, while in Allegheny County, thereafter intentionally disclosed some or all of those messages/emails.”

The complaint also alleges that Mr. Scherer disclosed the contents of the messages with the purpose “to ridicule and/or to embarrass plaintiff in light of the sensitive and private nature of her messages, emails and/or financial information.”

As a result of her messages being captured and then shared with unauthorized persons, Ms. Clerici has suffered “severe emotional distress; anxiety; embarrassment; humiliation” and other damages, the complaint alleges.

The second complaint also filed Friday, alleges that on October 28, 2017, while at the casino with Ms. Clerici, text messages sent by Julie Capone were also captured by casino employees and were eventually given to Mr. Scherer.

The contents of the messages were not disclosed in the two complaints.

Rivers Casino intentionally violated the state Wiretap Act when it used “surveillance equipment/electronic device(s) to view and/or record the subject text messages and email communications,” the filings said.

An Allegheny County spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuits saying they are a private matter, according to a media report.

Rivers Casino did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

Steve Pope can be contacted at steve.pope@grantstreetnews.com

 

 

 

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