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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bristol Borough

DA Says Not Enough Corroborating Evidence To File Charges Against Police Chief, Bristol Woman Says

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On Thursday, a woman who accused Bristol Borough Chief of Police Joe Moors of sexually assaulting her in January of this year, said, the investigation of her accusations that were brought to light by a letter written to officials by Borough Police Officer Ritchie Webb two weeks ago has been closed.

“Today was one of the most humiliating and embarrassing days of my life …. was just told by ADA Ed Luka (sic),  Moors will not be charged. ” said Heather Storey in a social media post.

Since the letter authored by Webb, which supports Storey’s sexual assault allegations, was published on Facebook two weeks ago, Lower Bucks Source has been working to obtain documentation and interview sources about the allegations and the only on the record comment coming from outside of the main subjects came from Mayor Ralph DiGuiseppe III.

Credit: Facebook

He confirmed Webb did write the letter and that borough officials have seen it too.

In response to Storey’s demands for an investigation of Moors, the mayor said, “We can’t investigate our own staff. Its a conflict of interest.”

He said he could not say anything more about Webb accusing Moors and officer Elifa Soto,  of “intimidating, threatening, and harassing locals,” as the letter alleged.  

“My hands are tied”, he said when it comes to commenting, “about borough police staff. Have to wait and see what the DA’s office, says.

DiGuiseppe did not return a call from this news organization, Thursday night but a voicemail was left.  

Chief Joe Moors writing a parking ticket days after he took over as the department.

Late Thursday afternoon, the publication contacted DA Matt Weintraub’s office about the allegations and alleged decision  to decline filing a case against Moors or Soto. Spokesman Manuel Gamiz said Weintraub  won’t be in the office until next week, but will forward him the message. LBS followed up by sending a copy of Storey’s social media statement.

Moors was asked if he had any comment and provided a one word response. “No”

Webb, a veteran cop for decades in Bristol Borough, previously sued the municipality after he reported fellow officer Sam Anderson had sexually assaulted Joanne Cipressi. Webb reported the incident to his superiors. Anderson pled guilty to official suppression- “using his badge for sex”  after he was fired in 2009, serving three months of a three to 23 month sentence.

Webb said he was jeopardized and tormented because of his testimony against Anderson by Bristol officials. He was awarded  $440,000 and Cipressi $385,000 when they settled their suits with the Borough in 2013.

As publisher/editor of LevittownNow.com in 2013  this writer co-authored a three part series detailing “the hell” Webb went through those years. It is how Storey came to decide to share her “sexual assault” story with Webb earlier this year.

Webb’s letter alleges Moors intimidated or harassed four Bristol residents. Soto, he says, terrorzied at least two Bristol residents.

There was no mention of Soto in Storey’s latest post.

Webb’s letter was addressed not only to the DA’s office but to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office,  Borough Council members, his attorney Lou Hornstine (who did not respond to a request for comment on June 11) and “the media”. Webb also did not respond to this publication’s attempts to reach him.

LBS contacted Storey for the first time on June 10 requesting an interview. She replied, eight days later saying she would love the opportunity “to tell her story.” LBS replied minutes later, offering any opportunity that works best for her. She responded that she would have to get back to LBS “in the am.” We agreed on that and that was our last communication. This past Monday Lower Bucks Source reached out to Storey again and there was no response.  

That in no way should reflect badly on Storey in any way. Sharing details of any experience in which a person believes they were violated with a stranger is no small feat. 

The invitation remains open to Storey or anyone who believes they’ve been violated by a public official or anyone else for that matter.

Without providing identifying details, Lower Bucks Source has been contacted several times over the last six months by individuals alleging elected or appointed officials in the Lower Bucks County area have at the very least harassed them. Those individuals, for their own reasons, decided not to pursue the matter further.

Moors was named Police Chief 14 months ago, and has been with the department for 30 years. Webb joined the department about 24 years ago. Soto has served for at least 15 years, according to news stories.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Bensalem Twp Council To Vote On Volunteer Fire Company Consolidation Monday Night

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Just under two years ago at a Bristol Borough Council meeting, officials were getting an update on the then planned fire company consolidation effort by Steve Reeves,  president of the Bristol Borough Fire Association. At the time, talk of consolidating fire companies in the borough and Bristol Township was a hot topic.

During his presentation Reeves mentioned consolidation talks of the Bensalem fire company volunteer services were also in progress. At the time tidbit was not in the public domain.

Credit: Submitted

Now after two years of planning, the Bensalem Township Council will vote on a resolution to form The Bensalem Volunteer Fire Department at its next meeting Monday night.

If the resolution is passed, the six legacy fire companies, including Cornwells, Eddington, Newport, Nottingham, Trevose, and Union, will be consolidated into one volunteer fire department. This consolidation plan is necessary to ensure adequate fire/emergency response within the township because of reduced membership amongst the current companies, a press release announced late Friday afternoon.

Credit: Submitted

Reeves knew what he was talking about at the time. Lower Bucks Source in the following days reached out to area first responder sources, officials and Bensalem area volunteer firefighters. No one anywhere would go on or off the record. LBS was directed, by Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal Robert Sponheimer, to the Deputy Director of Public Safety Robert Race who politely declined to respond to a request for comment at the time.

Credit: Submitted

Late last year, according to a Lower Bucks Times report, Bensalem officials spoke rather openly about dwindling volunteer numbers.  This led William McVey, director of public safety, to ask for council approval to apply for a SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant through FEMA, which was subsequently approved in November by council.

This past February the township announced the hiring of Mark Antozzeski as the first career Fire Chief in Bensalem history. He is leading the volunteer fire services, as well as Bensalem Fire Rescue, career staff. McVey told Bensalem Patch.com the hiring was an important piece of the consolidation process.

 

Credit: Submitted

Earlier this month,  Nottingham Fire Department Chief Ron Harris was named the Bensalem Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief as part of the consolidation effort, according to published report. 

Credit: Submitted

Beginning Friday evening, shortly after receiving the Bensalem announcement on the expected consolidation vote, first responder sources Lower Bucks Source contacted said that back in 2022 when first contacted they declined to comment because the topic was sensitive in nature and a real possibility of backlash existed and concerns about “sabotaging” the process were also omnipresent. Those sources again declined to comment on the record.

Consolidation Efforts in Bristol Borough & Bristol Township

In February, Bristol Borough voted to consolidate their volunteer fire services. Prior to that step the borough approved applying for a Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program Grant in the amount of $1.5 to build a new fire house at a yet to be determined location.

As far back as February of 2022, a smaller plan in size and scope was being discussed in Bristol Township involving Newportville Fire Company #1, Third District Fire Company with career fire personnel from the township which came off the heels of  a fire study completed in 2020.  That plan is no longer in play, fire officials say. Third District Fire Chief Howard McGoldrick said it’s a “complete mystery” why Newportville ultimately decided against the discussed move and merger.

” Volunteer fire services in Bucks County are changing right before our eyes” one first responder said last year.

Credit: Submitted

In each of the consolidation efforts, public safety, declining volunteer numbers and increasing costs have been cited repeatedly by officials publicly.

“It’s just not sustainable anymore financially for fire companies, the municipalities they serve, and taxpayers. It’s consolidate or die”, a high ranking first responder source said Friday.

Bensalem Council is expected to pass the resolution with its vote tonight.

Editor’s Note:  Each of the images in this story come from the volunteer fire companies serving Bensalem Township.

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Thunderstorm Rips Through Lower Bucks Area Friday Evening

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A Friday evening thunderstorm ripped through the Lower Bucks County area causing power outages, trees to come down, and other related damage.

The storm swept the area beginning around 6 p.m. just as the evening rush hour for motorists was ending.

Scattered wind gusts were expected, with up-to 1/4 inch sized hail and intermitted lightening were called for by forecasters before the storm landed.

Credit: Submitted

In the Winder Village section of Bristol Township, public safety officials say a tree landed on a vehicle while the motorist was operating the vehicle. The driver was able to get out of the vehicle under his own power with no injuries, Third District Fire Company officials said.

Credit: Submitted

 

In the Bensalem -Bristol areas, dozens are still without power, as of 7 a.m. Saturday morning, Information, according to PECO, is still pending assessment in the Croydon  and West Bristol sections of Bristol Twp.

Credit: PECO

No information on any injuries sustained as a result of the storm at this time.

Approximately 400 customers remain without power, PECO officials say in the Lower Bucks County area as of publication time.

Credit: Joe Nelson

 

 

 

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Breaking News - Bensalem Township

“Armed Man” Initiates Lockdown for Levittown Elementary School Thursday, No Charges Filed

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Brookwood Elementary

**Update: Friday 4 a.m.**

Earlier Thursday, Brookwood Elementary in Bristol Township instituted their “Lockdown Procedures” due to an alleged report of a “armed man” in the area of the school.

Parents received a community update notice which said they were in lockdown due to a security concern in a nearby neighborhood.  The notice said updates would be provided as they occur and to please not come to or contact the school.

Police dispatched to the elementary school raced up Haines Road one witness told the publication taking one man into custody, authorities  said.

“There was an incident involving an adult male, who was in possession of a firearm near the school crossing guard post (Kenwood Drive North & Key Lane.) There is no information at this time that he attempted to enter the school. The matter is under investigation. No one has been arrested as of this time,” said Lt. Sean Cosgrove in an e-email exchange with Lower Bucks Source, shortly after the incident.

At 1:30 p.m., the lockdown was lifted without further incident.

 

 

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