WEST CHESTER (AP) – A 6-year-old boy died after he was caught between horse-drawn hay carts. The Chester County Coroner’s Office said the boy’s death was ruled accidental. Few details were available about the Wednesday morning accident on a road in Honey Brook and authorities didn’t identify the child. State Police were called to the scene around 9:15 a.m. after the boy had become pinned between the carts as they passed each other. Authorities say the boy died a few hours later at Paoli Hospital.
HARRISBURG (AP) – A former student says she was impregnated at age 13 and forced to seek an abortion by a York County teacher who’s now imprisoned on child pornography and child sexual abuse charges. York Daily Record reported that the woman is suing ex-music teacher Matthew Puterbaugh and the Dover Area School District. She says the district failed to report alleged abuses to authorities and says staff pressured her to recant her 2004 allegations because they “would ruin his teaching career.” The district didn’t return the newspaper’s calls for comment. The 47-year-old Puterbaugh is serving 15 years in prison for secretly recording images of female students prosecutors say constituted child pornography. He’s also pleaded guilty to statutory sexual assault and other charges.
READING (AP) – The financially strapped city of Reading is on the hook for nearly $900,000 in legal bills to defend its mayor against charter and ethics complaints. The Duane Morris law firm has billed Reading’s city government $719,000 for Vaughn Spencer’s three charter cases and $178,725 for the ethics case. Charter board lawyers have also billed the city $297,000. The board ruled Spencer violated rules by hiring employees without city council approval, but an appeals court overturned the decision. In the pending ethics case, Spencer is accused of awarding city contracts to members of his campaign without going through the normal bidding process. All of the cases stem from 2012. FBI agents searched Spencer’s home and Reading City Hall in July. He has not been charged with a crime.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvanians will soon be able to register online to vote. Officials say the Wolf Administration will launch the system today, making Pennsylvania the 23rd state to offer Internet-based registration. The National Conference of State Legislatures says five other states have approved online systems, but not yet implemented them. Wolf and Secretary of State Pedro Cortes, the state’s top election official, plan to discuss the details at a news conference at the Harrisburg headquarters of the Pennsylvania County Commissioners Association. Doug Hill, the group’s director, said that county officials strongly support the new system. Online registration was among the voting reforms the Democrat governor promised when he ran for office last year. Supporters say it’s cheaper, more accurate, and more convenient than registering on paper.
HARRISBURG – In an effort to restore funding to vital human service and education programs, the PA House attempted a line by line override of the Governor’s blanket veto of the state budget. The votes needed to override a governor’s veto were 136. Republicans provided 115 of the votes, but Democrats voted as a block to deny the override. Funding for human services providers and contractors has been suspended due to the budget veto. Lancaster County Rep. Brett Miller, York County Rep. Seth Grove, and Lebanon County Rep. Russ Diamond are concerned for social services groups that need their funding. Votes were taken to override the governor’s veto of specific human services that were funded at levels Gov. Wolf requested or higher. House and Senate negotiators last week offered to give Wolf his $400 million in basic education funding, if he would also compromise and agree to reforms for both the state liquor system and the public pensions. So far, Gov. Wolf has not budged.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania’s attorney general got part of what she wanted when the courts unsealed documents in which she accuses two former state prosecutors of concocting the criminal case against her because she was threatening to reveal that they’d sent or received pornographic emails on the job. But it isn’t clear how it’ll help Kathleen Kane fight charges that she leaked secret information and lied about it. Philadelphia lawyer and former prosecutor George Parry says the pornography and alleged conspiracy are irrelevant to the charges against Kane and unlikely to be allowed into court. For now, a spokesman says Kane wants to release more pornographic emails like the ones released on Wednesday, but wants clearance from the courts. Her spokesman also says there other documents Kane wants released that may be protected by secrecy laws.
NORRISTOWN (AP) – Investigators say aides to Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor sent sensitive emails about news coverage of her office to her personal accounts and that prevented them from seeing many of her responses. Kane was charged with obstruction and conspiracy for allegedly leaking grand jury material to a Philadelphia newspaper and then lying about it. Kane has maintained her innocence. Investigators say in a request for a search warrant that the emails included a proposed response to a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter’s questions on a critical article. The search warrant request was obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday. A spokesman says he would check the attorney general’s office’s policy on using private email accounts to conduct official business. Chuck Ardo says he is sure Kane has communications with all kinds of people through a variety of means.
LANCASTER – A man accused of murdering a Solanco mother and daughter at their home is headed to trial. 38-year-old Leeton Thomas of Quarryville waived his preliminary hearing. He is charged in the June stabbing death of Lisa Scheetz and her 16-year-old daughter Hailey at their East Drumore Township home. A 15-year-old daughter was also injured, but survived. Prosecutors believe the stabbings happened because Thomas was out on bail awaiting arraignment for molestation of two of Scheetz’s daughters. Thomas is being held in Lancaster County Prison charged with homicide, attempted homicide, and burglary.
SALISBURY TOWNSHIP – State Police identified the two people who died after a motorcycle crash Tuesday night in Salisbury Township, Lancaster County. It happened around 8:15 p.m. in the 400 block of School Lane. Police say the motorcycle was traveling at a high rate of speed when it went out of control on a curve, left the roadway, and struck a fence. The driver was 39-year-old Thomas Webster of Loris, S.C. and 45-year-old Sharon Highfield of Ephrata was his passenger. Both died at the scene.
HARRISBURG (AP) – Lawyers for Pennsylvania’s attorney general say two former staffers “corruptly manufactured” a grand jury investigation that led to charges against her to protect themselves after she found they had been sending or receiving elicit emails. Kathleen Kane’s lawyers wrote in a court filing in November 2014 trying to stop the investigation that Frank Fina and Marc Costanzo “triggered” and then misled a judge about the emails to prevent Kane from releasing them. Kane faces charges including obstruction and conspiracy for allegedly leaking grand jury material and lying about it. She has vigorously denied the accusations. The special prosecutor said in a response that it was part of an effort by Kane to avoid testifying. Information unsealed today include scores of emailed images of nude or scantily clad women sent by former attorney general’s office employees.