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Human Interest - Bristol Borough

Nearby: Former Central Bucks Choir Director Pleads Guilty to Sexually Assaulting Students

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Joseph G. Ohrt, the former choir director at Central Bucks West High School, pleaded no contest on Thursday, to indecently assaulting two former students and filming another former student as he undressed.

Ohrt, 57, of Buckingham Township, entered his plea before Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey L. Finley to two counts each of indecent assault, corruption of minors and invasion of privacy and one count of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

Sentencing was deferred for 90 days as Ohrt undergoes an assessment by the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board. As part of his plea, he will be required to register as a sex offender for 15 years.

Ohrt was first charged on Feb. 8, 2022, after an investigation found he took a video recording of a former male student without consent.

Following the publicity of his arrest, detectives received multiple tips through emails, phone calls and on our CrimeWatch site from people reporting inappropriate past contact with Ohrt, leading to additional charges a month later that he sexually assaulted two former students.

Detectives with the Central Bucks Regional Police Department and the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office began their initial investigation on May 9, 2021, following a Childline referral intake report alleging the potential sexual assault of a former student by Ohrt, a teacher and choir director at Central Bucks West High School.

The victim was identified as a former male student and choir member who graduated in 2016. The victim said during his junior year of high school, Ohrt began mentoring him in composing music. He said some of Ohrt’s actions when they were alone made him feel uncomfortable. He reported that Ohrt began telling him that he loved him and would try to spend time alone with him, Assistant District Attorney Brittney Kern said on Thursday.

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After graduation, he maintained a close relationship with Ohrt and even moved into a bedroom at Ohrt’s house. During out-of-state trips, Ohrt made inappropriate sexual advances toward the former student, who was around 19 at the time, but the victim declined.

As detectives continued their investigation, they went to Ohrt’s home on Sept. 30, 2021, and left a business card on his door after no one answered.

About a month later, a young man who was living at Ohrt’s house came to the Central Bucks Regional Police Department with property he said Ohrt gave to him to destroy “in a nonpublic manner.” The young man said he was concerned about the contents of the items provided by Ohrt and brought them to the Central Bucks Regional Police Department, Kern said.

These items included a laptop computer, an external hard drive and four hidden camera devices. One of these devices was a “smart” clock cube, and the other three devices were cell phone block wall chargers. Each of these four devices were designed to surreptitiously audio and video record to SD memory cards, Kern said.

Detectives reviewed the memory cards found in the hidden cameras, and one of them contained audio and video of Ohrt’s former student. One video showed the victim naked as he changed his clothing.

Ohrt was charged in February, and detectives continued their investigation, leading to two more victims coming forward.

One victim told detectives that he was a sixth grader at Linden Elementary in 1991 when Ohrt, his choir teacher, indecently touched him. The encounter happened inside the music room at the school when the victim was 11 years old.

A second former choir student was interviewed and told detectives he was 13 years old in 1996 when Ohrt molested him.

The victim said he was babysitting at Ohrt’s home in Doylestown Township while Ohrt and his wife went out to celebrate their wedding anniversary and when Ohrt returned, he indecently assaulted him in the basement of his home.

“Mr. Ohrt’s crimes are all the more egregious because of the high level of public trust conferred upon him by his status as a teacher for decades,” District Attorney Matt Weintraub said. “He perverted that trust by preying upon the very children he was entrusted to nurture, educate and care for.”  “I appreciate all of the community support and participation that this investigation yielded and required to hold this man accountable for his criminal actions.  He will now be held to pay the price for the damage he has caused.”

Detective Sergeant Paul Kreuter of the Central Bucks Regional Police Department and Detective Greg Beidler of the Bucks County Detectives investigated the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Brittney Kern.

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Lower Makefield Township

Did You Lose Tools in Lower Makefield Recently?

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The Lower Makefield Police Department seeking the rightful owner of tools found on Glenn Drive officials said in a press release Thursday

According to Lower Makefield Township Police Department they recently come into possession of found items on Glen Dr., and we are looking to reunite them with their rightful owner(s). If you have lost any property recently, please take a moment to check if these might belong to you.  If you believe these are your items, please contact the Detectives Division at 215-493-4055 during our business hours Hopefully the tools will be returned to the rightful owner so we can try and do the natural and report out who found the tools and got the police department involved.

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Human Interest - Bristol Borough

Bristol Borough Announces Changes to Sidewalk Repair Program, Children Related Events Announced

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Bristol Borough announced changes coming to the controversial sidewalk program it instituted last year after a number of complaints about the overall health of the sidewalks in the small, compacted locality.

Beginning last May, Borough code enforcement officials undertook an initiative to inspect sidewalks throughout the walkable community.

According to LevittownNow.com, borough officials completed walking inspections in 50 percent of the town finding 155 violations with 132 of those homeowners granted extensions to repair or replace the sidewalks.

The sidewalk violations and citations were met with intense push back in the community and on local social media pages. Several posters and dozens of commenters called for the firing of Inspector John Miller and the recently hired code enforcement staff.

The current incarnation of the effort is over, Council President Ralph DiGuiseppe said at Monday night’s council meeting.

“We started a sidewall program based on the course our inspectors went out and took. It’s very clear that if there is a sidewalk that can create a tripping problem …the homeowner has to fix them. It worked but it’s been  a disaster.”

Going on, he said, we just finished surveying the entire borough last week, and we has a meeting with the solicitor prior to finishing, DiGuiseppe said, and now were going to change the whole program and handle it differently. If there is a sidewalk not in compliance – meaning a tripping problem or a danger to someone, the borough will send a letter to that resident whether it’s a rental property or homeowner, stating your sidewalk is not in compliance and that it should be repaired. For some reason you don’t repair it and for some reason someone gets hurt, Bristol Borough is putting you on notice.

“So, we’re not forcing you to do anything” he said, adding the Borough tried to work with everyone on the issue in any way possible.

“We did get a lot of lawsuits and we did get a lot of complaints from people that tripped and busted their face open. We asked people if they wanted to come to Council and talk about some of the things that happened to them. And they really didn’t want to get involved on TV. There were some serious injuries over sidewalks that people got hurt on,” DiGuiseppe said.

Borough Solicitor Jeff Garton said he was going to check and make sure the Borough sidewalk ordinance is consistent with what the council president laid out.

“We’re not walking the streets anymore, We did it one time, it’s over and we’re done with it,” DiGuiseppe said emphatically.


In related Council items:

August 6 will be the Bristol Borough’s National Night Out event  at the Snyder-Girotti Elementary School fields off of Buckley and Beaver Streets, beginning  at 5:30 p.m.

August 7 (a Wednesday) will be Kids Night at the St Ann /St Mark Carnival this year. Bristol Environmental will once again sponsor the event that is free to all Boro children. More details to be released coming soon.

Council tabled the motion to take over the property located at 636 Race Street due to redevelopment interest from Habitat for Humanity.

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Health - Bensalem Township

Bucks County Issues Excessive Heat Warning through Thursday

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The County of Bucks has issued an Excessive Heat Warning through Thursday, with high temperatures expected to for the next several days.

The extended stretch of days with temperatures above 90 degrees has prompted the opening of cooling centers in Upper, Central and Lower Bucks that are available for seniors and people experiencing homelessness seeking refuge from the heat.

The following cooling centers will operate from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day unless otherwise noted:

Bensalem Senior Citizens Association
1850 Byberry Road
Bensalem, PA 19020
215-638-7720

Ben Wilson Senior Activity Center
580 Delmon Avenue
Warminster, PA 18974
215-672-8380

Bristol Borough Senior Center
301 Wood Street
Bristol, PA 19007
215-788-9238

Bristol Township Senior Center
2501 Bath Rd.
Bristol, PA 19007
215-785-6322

Morrisville Senior Service Center
31 E. Cleveland Avenue
Morrisville, PA 19067
215-295-0567

 Palisades Middle School Library
4710 Durham Road
Kintnersville, PA 18930
*OPEN 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. MONDAY; 12 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. TUESDAY*

Quakertown Masonic Lodge
501 W. Broad Street
Quakertown, PA 18951
267-450-5191

Riegelsville Borough Hall
615 Easton Road
Riegelsville, PA 18077
610-749-2726
 *OPEN 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Senior centers throughout Bucks County also are open and available daily to residents 55 and over. Check with your local senior center for hours of operation and details.

The county generally issues an Excessive Heat Warning when the National Weather Service forecasts daytime temperatures will reach 95 degrees by 11 a.m. on two or more consecutive days, or when heat indexes will reach 100 degrees on any given day.

Municipalities or nonprofit agencies interested in participating in this program in the future should contact Bucks County Emergency Services at 215-340-8700.

 

 

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