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Breaking News - Bristol Borough

Terminated Police Officer Files Lawsuit against Borough, Police Dept and Officials

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Updated March 8th 7:am:  The Bristol Borough Officials named as defendants in the law suit declined to comment for this story.  

A former Bristol Borough Police Officer is suing the department, borough, mayor,  police chief and borough manager for wrongful termination and retaliation and asking for damages in excess of $50,000, according to court documents filed last month.

Justin Gross says he was wrongfully terminated, harassed, his reputation harmed and humiliated by Borough officials in the suit filed on February 27 by Saffern & Weinberg, attorney Robert Maizel.

Named in suit as defendants are: Chief of Police Steve Henry, Borough Manager James Dillon, Mayor James Saxton, Bristol Borough  and the Police Department. 

Confidential sources said officials were served with the civil filing Thursday afternoon.

Sgts. Alan Hankinson and Pete Faight are also identified in the filing as harassers of the former police officer in their role as supervisors, court records show. 

According to the filing, Gross was terminated late last year by the defendants wrongfully. 

Gross was injured on the job in March of 2014 when a Bristol woman, Stephanie McCleary, rammed his marked police cruiser  causing a number of injuries to his back and neck, court records show. 

Gross was responding to a report of a woman driving recklessly in the borough on Cleveland Street. He pursued her and positioned his patrol vehicle to block her entrance on to the Pennsylvania Turnpike by Green Lane, according to court documents. The now convicted woman, for aggravated assault, rammed his marked cruiser repeatedly. 

 Gross suffered “traumatic injuries” including but not limited to: a traumatic brain injury, major depression, post traumatic stress disorder, disc herniation, lumbar disc protrusion, caused by the vehicular assault, the suit says. 

Gross returned to work in 2017  according to court documents and alleged the work environment to be hostile. 

In January of 2019,  Sargent’s Faight and Hankinson  harassed Gross by:

  • Moving his chair back to his old desk, taking his personal items back to his old desk area, unplugging his Ethernet cable so Gross could not access his work computer, throwing trash on his desk, and removing and logging into the officers cell phone. 
  • Faight, the suit alleges, “tampered with” his  “Alexa” device by accessing it and “ordering condoms.” 

The complaint also says his personal locked desk drawer was broken into which contained sensitive information which was removed. 

Gross reported the alleged “harassment” to Henry.

He alleged  someone broke into his personal work desk removing sensitive documents to the police chief in January of 2019.  Henry, the complaint says, cut the the officer off during the discussion and compared him “to a f**king sixth grader.”

Gross says these actions by police personnel exacerbated his mental health conditions and intensified his symptoms. He thus was unable to return to work, which was certified by his Physician on January 15 of the same year. 

On or about March 14  Dillon sent Gross a memo, telling him he has used all of his leave time as of March 10, 2019 and was placed in a “no-pay” status, the complaint says. 

On August 11, Dillon contacted Gross offering him a position in the department as a plain clothes officer in the Borough offices  claiming he had been cleared to work by his independent medical examiner (IME) with a return date of August 22, the suit alleges.

The filing claims Dillon was  harassing the officer by attempting to isolate him from his fellow officers and not allowing him to have flexible work hours in order to receive necessary treatment for his injuries. 

Gross’ IME had not cleared him for a  return to work as of yet and  documentation was provided  to borough officials detailing the   alleged work injury violation, the complaint said.  Subsequently, Gross  filed a Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the officials named in August of last year. 

Lower Bucks Source was made aware of the EEOC complaint shortly after it was filed and contacted Maizel for comment about the complaint. Maziel at the time declined to speak on the record and again in September by not returning calls from the publication. 

 In October, Saxton made a similar return to work offer to Gross without a notice of ability to return to work from IME physicians, the complaint says.

On November 20, according to court documents, Dillon sent Gross a letter stating the borough was terminating him due to a mental disability which affected his ability to work.  This was information obtained during Gross’ worker compensation hearings and was used against him illegally, the complaint says. 

The suit goes on to further allege the defendants acted unlawfully and in direct contravention of the laws and statutes of the commonwealth and thus seeks relief to that end for Gross, the complaint said. The defendants retaliated against Gross for exercising his rights under the laws of the Workers Compensation Statute and alleged actions directed by the group, the suit says. Gross,  has sustained loss of wages and earnings, loss of benefits, loss of future earning power, humiliation, emotional distress and seeks damages from the named defendants, the filing alleges. 

Editors Note McCleary, the woman who caused Gross’ original injuries, was cited for probation violations in February of 2019  for non -payment and had 24 months added to her probation sentence.  Originally, she was sentenced to 10 to 23 months of confinement, 36 months probation and court costs, according to online court documents. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Breaking News - Bristol Borough

Sources: Borough Police Investigating Sexual Assault of Minor with Behavioral Health Challenges

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Imagine being a young female on your way to a local store and an unknown man grabs and fondles you while mumbling incoherently. Apparently this is what happened in the area of the Dollar General 610 Bristol Pike earlier this month.

Multiple sources confirmed to Lower Bucks Source early Friday an investigation is moving forward with a person of interest in the sights of Bristol Borough Police.

The alleged sexual assault which included the suspect grabbing the young girl in the genital region in an alleyway close to the Dollar General. Social media posts and comments about the reported attack say store employees have been cooperating with police providing detailed descriptions of the suspect.

Sources said late Thursday evening, the suspect has a lengthy criminal record and currently has active case filed by Bristol Township Police for stalking, reckless endangerment, unlawful restraint -serious bodily injury and a related offense.

Each source is “very concerned” for the health and welfare of girls and women walking around in the Bristol area.

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A source with knowledge of the police inquiry said Detective William “Billy” Davis  was assigned the case last week.

We’re just hoping an arrest is made soon, one source repeatedly said

“You can’t have an animal like that out there running free,” another said with rage in her voice. .

If you have any information about the alleged October 10 attack you can submit an anonymous tip to police by clicking here. Or you can call Call (215) 788-7813.

Chief of Police Joe Moors did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

At this time, Lower Bucks Source is withholding the name of the suspect to protect the integrity of the police investigation.

 

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Breaking News - Bristol Borough

Updated:Three-Alarm Blaze Rips Through Six Borough Homes, At Least 10 Displaced, Sources say

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Update: 4:45 pm Tuesday- Sept 19, 2023

The early Tuesday morning fire that ripped quickly through six Bristol Borough homes is now under investigation by the Bucks County Fire Marshal’s office, first responder  sources told Lower Bucks Source, this afternoon.

Multiple residents and sources who could only speak on the condition of anonymity said fire victims were placed at a local church.  Bristol Borough Emergency Management officials are set up there with The American Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania assisting,

The fire severely damaged at least three homes and with the remaining three suffering varying degrees of fire and water damage.

Two witnesses earlier this morning saw a “family of five run for their lives with children in tow”

“:It was truly traumatic to see that” the Buckley Street resident said,

Still no official word on the cause of the fire that went from one to a three-alarm blaze in what appeared to be a blink of the eye, a first responder on scene said.

“The response was massive, intense, and loud” the source said.

Credit: Submitted

A three-alarm fire ripped through Bristol Borough homes on the 600 Block of Spruce Street Tuesday morning.

One witness on scene said they saw a family of five running out of their home to escape the blaze.

Screaming sirens cut through the morning smoke, with onlookers crying as they stood mesmerized by the crazy morning scene of fire companies pouring into Bristol from every direction to battle the raging blaze, one witness described.

Preliminary reports said the fire dispatch came in around 6 am calling is a  “a tactical house fire.”

Police on scene, one source said, advised the fire was spreading to other homes on the block with heavy smoke showing when fire companies arrived on scene.

Second and Third alarms called for “manpower” as first arriving companies battled the blaze with firefighters from outside the three row homes, witnesses said.

Within 30 minutes it turned to three alarms and Buckley and Spruce cross-street blocked off by fire police. 

By 7am there were approximately 20 fire trucks within the confines of Bristol Borough as . 

Fire  companies from as far as Trevose are on hand to assist with firefighters who are now checking adjacent homes for damage and spread, said observers.

Cause of the fire as of 8 am was yet to be determined.

Details and updates as they come in

Joanne Ames contributed to this report.

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Breaking News - Bristol Borough

Exclusive: Video of Predator Poachers Encounter with Jailed Bristol Man Posted

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Disclaimer: The following story and video might not be appropriate for those under the age of 18. Parental Discretion is advised 

The Predator Poachers video encounter with a Bristol man last month leading to his arrest was posted online recently. 

The, what appears to be the, terrified look, of 44 year-old William J. Rago Jr. is the feature image of the video

Rago was allegedly expecting  to have sex with a 13 year-old girl and was charged and jailed last month with the video posted to Rumble.com.

The scene  played out just after two am on July 11th when Bristol police were dispatched to St Ann’s Church on Pond Street to meet with a group of subjects who were with Rago Jr., police said in court papers.

The more than one-hour video depicts the encounter from the beginning, ending with Rago being taken into Police custody by Borough officer “Jimmer” Ellis.

Credit: Screengrab Rumble.com

Rago Jr was charged with one felony count criminal attempt – statutory sexual assault: 4-8 years older, one felony count of criminal attempt – unlawful contact with a minor – sexual offenses, one felony count of criminal attempt – corruption of minors – defendant age 18 or above and criminal use of communication facility and remains in jail awaiting a September preliminary hearing.

To men 18 and over who think it’s ok to interact with minors in this way, the activist  group and law enforcement have responded with a resounding NO, in recent weeks

 

 

 

 

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