Posted by on May 13, 2021 4:54 pm

Categories: Coal Region Newswire Coal Region Newswire 2 Local News Schuylkill County Me Too

courthouse restricts halcovage access

Schuylkill County Sheriff Joe Groody has informed Commissioner George Halcovage that his access at the Courthouse has been severely limited.

Halcovage received a hand-delivered letter signed by Sheriff Solicitor James Bohorad Thursday. In that letter, Groody spells out how Halcovage can and can’t move about the Courthouse.

The action comes a day after Groody’s opponent in the November election for Sheriff, Republican Doug Litwhiler, called out the current Sheriff for not acting on Sexual Violence Protective Orders handed down against Halcovage during a hearing last week.

Litwhiler’s comments were read aloud by Commissioner Boots Hetherington during Wednesday’s regular weekly meeting. The comments reportedly did not sit well with Groody, who according to the letter sent to Halcovage, convened a meeting with numerous Courthouse officials later that day to discuss limiting the accused Commissioner’s access.

Schuylkill County Sheriff Restricts Courthouse Access for George Halcovage

That letter indicates Groody’s meeting included the following officials:

  • Treasurer Linda Marchalk
  • Recorder of Deeds Ann Dudish
  • Prothonotary Bridget Miller
  • Acting Controller Sharyn Yackenchick
  • Clerk of Courts Maria Casey

District Attorney Mike O’Pake and Register of Wills Theresa Santai Gaffney were invited but didn’t attend “due to a last-minute conflict” and Coroner David Moylan wasn’t invited “because he does not work in the Courthouse.”

Groody and the other row officers allegedly are in unanimous agreement on what Halcovage can and can’t do at the Courthouse, per the letter delivered Thursday. According to the rules, starting Monday, May 17, this is how Halcovage will be restricted:

  • His ID card will be “terminated” – The ID swipe cards at the Courthouse, we’re told, pretty much give someone access to all parts of the building whenever they want. “We could be in there 24/7 if we wanted,” one official told us.
  • His personal parking space will be moved – Instead of having a parking space at the “Commissioners Entrance” on Laurel Blvd. Halcovage must park at a space normally reserved for police vehicles by the Public Entrance to the Courthouse.
  • He must use the Public Entrance – Halcovage will be required to enter the Courthouse using the Public Entrance and pass through the security checkpoint. He must also use the Public Entrance to exit the Courthouse.
  • His hours are limited – The Commissioner can only work at the Courthouse on weekdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The letter also details how Halcovage’s access was limited last year while Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro was conducting an investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing in the Halcovage case. Back then, he was also required to use the Public Entrance but eventually, Groody eased off and allowed Halcovage to use the Commissioners Entrance but required that he be wanded by a Sheriff deputy to get into the Courthouse. That requirement was also relaxed eventually. Groody required that Halcovage only be at the Courthouse from 8-5 last year, too.

Photo: Coal Region Canary

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