Tri County Report For April 8th, 2019

The New Castle News reports that a man charged last year with multiple counts of child pornography was sentenced Thursday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court. 36 year old Aaron Lee Johnson was sentenced to four to six years in a state prison by President Judge Dominick Motto. In addition Johnson will serve four years of state parole and be required to register as a Megan’s Law offender for 15 years. Police found images of child pornography on Johnson’s phone. He pled guilty to four counts back in January.

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has placed Reverend Thomas Wilson on administrative leave.  Bishop David Zubik made the announcement Saturday.  Wilson has reportedly admitted to an allegation of inappropriate behavior with a minor, but the diocese says the behavior did not include sexual contact.  The 74-year-old is now barred from engaging in public ministry or dressing as a priest while police investigate.

Authorities in Lawrence County are trying to determine if wet weather was a factor in a traffic accident that sent a car tumbling down a 40-foot embankment and sent the driver to the hospital. According to WFMJ-TV Shenango Township Police were called out at around 10:30 pm Sunday after a vehicle  missed a bend along Ellwood Road near Shenango Park Road. The car veered through the Dairy Queen parking lot and struck a car before sliding down an embankment, coming to rest against a pole in the Lawrence Village Plaza. The driver was flown to St. Elizabeth’s hospital in Youngstown where she is said to be in stable condition.

Pennsylvania is changing the way inmates in the state receive their legal mail.  This after a civil rights group accused the Department of Corrections of violating attorney-client privilege.  The department used to give inmates a copy of their legal correspondence, and other privileged mail, but now they’ll receive the original copies.

A Pittsburgh police officer is being recognized by the President.  Officer Timothy Matson survived the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting that killed eleven people back in October.  He was shot several times in the line of duty and remains injured.  President Donald Trump introduced Matson at the Republican Jewish Coalition meeting in Las Vegas on Saturday.  He received a standing ovation.

All of Pennsylvania’s 14 state-run universities are coming together to try and make college more affordable.  The State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors voted Thursday to allow the schools to develop their own tuition plans.  That could mean a potential increase in enrollment, flexibility in how financial aid is distributed, and less out-of-pocket expenses for students attending Slippery Rock University.  The universities still need to submit their plans to the Board of Governors for approval ahead of the school year that starts in the fall of 2020.

The search is underway for a burglary suspect in Beaver County.  Hopewell Township police say a man smashed his way into a Grand Avenue home on Saturday, while the residents were inside sleeping.  The suspect got away with a jewelry box.  None of the residents were hurt.

It’s been just over two years since Pennsylvania did away with license plate stickers, but one state lawmaker wants to bring them back.  Berks County Representative Barry Jozwiak says there are several people who choose not to register their vehicles because there is no way for PenDOT to identify valid registration.  He says creating the new sticker will help address that problem.

The Pennsylvania House is considering its own version of “Marsy’s Law.”  Representative Sheryl Delozier introduced the bill, hoping it will balance the system.  She says the law brings victim’s rights and the victim’s voice to the judicial process, equal to the accused.  Since Marsy’s Law requires a change to the constitution, it has to make its way through two legislative sessions before it can be approved by voters.