Former UPMC clerk admits to stealing and disclosing patients’ medical information

By Steve Pope | March 6, 2019

A UPMC medical clerk admitted in federal court on Wednesday to unlawfully disclosing confidential medical information that she obtained while employed at a Butler County medical office.

Linda Sue Kalina, 61, of Butler, pleaded guilty to one count of wrongful disclosure of health information in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.

Kalina admitted to disclosing some of the information she obtained while employed at the UPMC affiliate, Tri Rivers Musculoskeletal in Mars, to persons not authorized to receive the information.

According to court documents, between March 7, 2016 and Aug. 17, 2017, Kalina accessed the confidential files of 113 patients, even though she did not have a valid work-related reason to do so.

She then unlawfully disclosed the protected information on four occasions, including one time in an email to a former employer who had fired her.

Kalina faces up to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine, or both, when she is sentenced in June by U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab.

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

Jeannette woman charged with abusing 2-month-old puppy and boyfriend

By Terri Hill | March 5, 2019

A 27-year-old Jeannette woman abused a two-month-old puppy and assaulted her boyfriend on Monday, according to police.

Crystal A. Broker is facing charges of simple assault, harassment, two counts of animal cruelty and making terroristic threats.

Police alleged in a criminal complaint that they responded to a domestic assault call at the couple’s home on North Fourth Street around 8 p.m. Broker’s boyfriend identified in the complaint as James Krautz, told police that Broker sprayed Lysol in his eyes and slammed a door shut on his hand during the incident.

While Krautz was attempting to get Broker to give him the puppy an argument ensued and Broker started throwing items inside the home, police said.

“The defendant then began grabbing the victim by the neck and sprayed him with Lysol in his eyes and slammed his fingers shut in a bedroom door,” the complaint said.

It is also alleged that Broker threatened to hit Krautz and his mother with an urn that still had the remains of a family member inside it.

During the incident Broker picked up the two-month-old puppy “and stretched its two front legs apart until it started to yelp,” police alleged in the complaint.

Broker was ordered held in the Westmoreland County Prison after failing to post a $5,000 bond and her preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 11.

Terri Hill can be contacted at terri.hill@grantstreetnews.com

 

A preliminary hearing is scheduled March 14.

Police charge man in burglary of Springdale vape store

By Amanda Klein | March 4, 2019

A Cheswick man is accused of stealing at least $5,000 worth of bongs, vape pens and other products from a Springdale vape store.

Police alleged in a criminal complaint that Brady Glover, 33, threw a cinder block through the front door of Premier Glass and Vape and made off with the numerous items along with $200 in cash.

Police were able to connect Glover with the alleged burglary by his fingerprints and survelliance video.

About 30 minutes after the store’s owner posted photos taken from the store’s surveillance video on Facebook, he received information linking Glover to the incident. The owner then contacted and shared the information with police.

Police also suspect in another burglary that occurred the same night as the alleged vape shop burglary.

Glover is currently in the Allegheny County Jail after failing to post $5,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 11.

Amanda Klein can be contacted at amanda.klein@grantstreetnews.com

Westmoreland County man pleads guilty to child predator charges

By Steve Pope | February 26, 2019

A Westmoreland County man pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony charges of attempting to have sexual contact with a 14-year-old, according to Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Kelly Harrington, 48, pleaded guilty to felony charges of unlawful contact with a minor, criminal attempt and criminal use of a communication facility in connection with a June 2018 incident where he solicited an undercover agent posing as a minor for sex.

According to court documents, Harrington had an online conversation with the agent and despite being told he was communicating with a 14-year-old, he continued to pursue a conversation with the agent.

Harrington solicited the agent for unlawful sexual contact and arranged to meet the agent, according to a criminal complaint.

“My office is committed to protecting children from abuse and will prosecute anyone we find attempting to prey on minors to the fullest extent of the law,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “This predator made arrangements to meet up with someone he believed was only 14 years old. Thanks to the relentless work of our agents and prosecutors, he is being held accountable for his illegal actions.”

A sentencing date will be scheduled 90 days after the presentence investigation is completed.

The Office of Attorney General’s Child Predator Section has made 179 arrests since January 2017 when Attorney General Shapiro was sworn into office.

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

Defense attorney for Westmoreland County Sheriff asks appeal court to dismiss corruption case

By Terri Hill | February 23, 2019

An attorney representing Westmoreland County Sheriff Jonathan Held who is awaiting retrial on public corruption charges is asking that the case be dismissed.

According to a court document filed last week, defense attorney Ryan Tutera has filed an appeal to the Superior Court alleging that prosecutors failed to prove Held’s guilt during his three-day trial in December.

Held is facing a retrial on a felony charge of conflict of interest and a misdemeanor count of theft related to allegations that he directed sheriff’s department staffers to perform work on his re-election bid in 2015 while they were on duty for the county.

A mistrial was declared when jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

In addition to alleging that there was not enough evidence produced during the trial to find Held guilty, Tutera is also alleging that the trial judge failed to ask six jurors whether or not they voted to find Held guilty, after a male juror announced he had changed his vote from guilty to not guilty.

Instead of continuing to ask each juror what their vote was, the judge ordered the jury to resume deliberations.

Less than an hour later a mistrial was declared when it was determined that a unanimous verdict could not be reached.

Held’s retrial was scheduled to begin in April, but is expected to be delayed until the appeal is decided, which could take over a year.

Terri Hill can be contacted at terri.hill@grantstreetnews.com

Police charge sex offender with having sex with boy 17 and sending nude photos to 14-year-old boy

By Terri Hill | February 19, 2019

A 36-year-old woman from South Connellsville who is also a registered sex offender is accused of having sex with a 17-year-old boy and sending another 14-year-old boy nude photographs, according to police.

Crystal Shannon Shroyer, faces charges of statutory sexual assault and dissemination of explicit material to a minor, online court records say.

In late 2018 Shroyer had sex with the 17-year-old after she drove him to a dam, police alleged in a criminal complaint.

Police also alleged in the filing that the 14-year-old boy told them that Shroyer sent him three pictures, including one that shows her breasts, after the two engaged in sex. The boy told police that Shroyer performed a sex act on him at her home.

In 2016 Shroyer was sentenced to one to two years in prison after she pleaded no contest to statutory sexual assault and corruption of minors, according to court records.

Police said that the boy who had been dating Shroyer’s daughter ran away from home and stayed at Shroyer’s residence. She admitted to having sexual intercourse with the boy.

According to court documents in the case Shroyer and the boy also smoked marijuana and consumed alcohol. As a result of that conviction, Shroyer is required to register as a sex offender.

Shroyer is currently in the Fayette County Prison in lieu of posting a $25,000 bond.  Her preliminary hearing has not been scheduled.

Terri Hill can be contacted at terri.hill@grantstreetnews.com

Jeannette man who threw away kittens during chase facing additional charges

By Steve Pope | February 18, 2019

Greensburg police have tacked on 10 additional charges in addition to those a 37-year-old Jeannette man is facing in connection with last week’s police chase that ended with the man crashing into a utility pole.

Police say Thomas Campbell discarded five tiny kittens during the chase that were stuffed in a backpack.  They are now safe at a Greensburg animal shelter, according to authorities.

The chase began shortly after 1:45 p.m. Wednesday when a detective began questioning Campbell about a series of thefts from the Gander Outdoors store in Greensburg. Authorities allege in a court document that Campbell was captured by store surveillance cameras stealing 19 packages of razor-sharp archery blades valued at $1,000 and a trail camera valued at $230.

Campbell fled in a Jeep and crashed into a utility pole about one mile down the road. Police found him hiding in a crawl space beneath a mobile home.

In addition to the animal cruelty and fleeing from police charges, Campbell is facing burglary, theft and entering an unoccupied structure charges, as well as multiple traffic violations.  He is also facing retail theft charges in connection with a September incident.

He is currently being held on $75,000 bond at the Westmoreland County Prison.

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