ShareThis Page
Burrell School Board member Barca found guilty of harassment by phone |

Burrell School Board member Barca found guilty of harassment by phone

| Wednesday, April 9, 2003 12:00 a.m

LOWER BURRELL: Burrell School Board member Bill Barca was found guilty last week of harassment.

District Justice Cheryl Peck Yakopec on Friday ordered Barca to pay a $100 fine and court costs for the summary charge, which stemmed from phone calls Barca made in March. Barca paid a total of $221, Peck Yakopec said.

Barca said Tuesday there was no merit to the allegations even though he was found guilty. He said that the situation was a political one.

According to a criminal complaint, Barca made the first call on March 15 to city residents Jim and Beckie Hess. The couple are supporters of school board candidates at odds with Barca.

After learning from their daughter that the couple would not be home until late the next day, Barca made between six and eight more calls, the complaint said.

When finally reaching Beckie Hess by phone late March 16, Barca made threatening statements, according to the complaint. He also made threatening statements over the phone on March 17, the complaint said.

Barca named Jim Hess in a complaint he filed March 18 in Westmoreland County Court challenging a nomination petition of school board President Andrew Kish. Barca argued that Hess signed an affidavit saying he would circulate the petition, but had someone else circulate it.

Judge Charles Loughran removed Kish — a cross-filed Democrat — from the Republican ballot after Kish withdrew the petition that Barca challenged. After the hearing, Fran Cosentino, a behind-the-scenes political rival of Barca’s, admitted to circulating the petition, saying he didn’t know that state law mandated that Hess collect the signatures.

Loughran also threw first-time board candidate Jayme Skeba off the Republican ballot after she withdrew a petition Barca challenged for the same reasons.

Kish and Skeba, a registered Republican, remain on the May 21 primary ballot as Democrats.

Barca said Tuesday that he originally called Hess, “as a friend,” to let him know he would file the complaint in Greensburg. He denied that he made repeated calls and threatening statements.

“My purpose in calling was just to tell them (what they were doing) was wrong,” Barca said.

“We got into a situation where we felt we were being harassed,” Hess said Tuesday. “It’s sad that it came to this, but we felt that we were forced to take action.”

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.