I can’t find this story in the online P-G’s regular page, though it sits on the front of today’s Local News section. Here’s a link to it that I found via Google, but you can’t seem to get to it from the P-G site.
I can find a few blurbs here and there on the internet about it, but nothing detailed. Blurbs like this one in the Trib:
An Allegheny County judge cleared a former Port Authority bus driver Tuesday of charges related to accusations that he sexually assaulted a boy aboard a moving bus.
Common Pleas Judge David R. Cashman found Anthony Leffler, 52, of Morningside not guilty of four charges related to accusations stemming from an incident in July. Dozens of character witnesses were present in court ready to testify on Leffler’s behalf, if needed.
Port Authority terminated Leffler, who has challenged that decision, a Port Authority spokesman said.
Wham, bam, that’s all folks. Have a nice life, Mr. Leffler. Moving on.
Here are the details:
1. The boy in question was Mr. Leffler’s son.
2. He was charged by the DA because a witness saw Mr. Leffler drive his bus by with his son sitting on his lap and when police saw the tape, they sent it on to the DA.
3. “In a criminal complaint, police said that surveillance video from the bus showed sexual activity — including Mr. Leffler pushing the boy’s head toward his lap several times, patting his butocks, and reaching inside the back of the boy’s pants.”
4. Mr. Leffler was fired from his job and in order to not have his three sons removed from their home by CYF, Mr. Leffler had to move out of the house for five months and have supervised visitation with his children.
However, a judge, David R. Cashman “excoriated” the DA yesterday for ever allowing the case to be brought against Mr. Leffler because the tape actually showed nothing, which is amazing considering the DA brought “indecent exposure” charges against Mr. Leffler who NEVER EXPOSED ANYTHING on the tape. Maybe he was “thinking about it.” Does the DA prosecute “thinking about it,” because right now I’m thinking about slashing the tires of whoever wrote the federal tax code.
I mean. Think about this. Ben Roethlisberger is accused of assaulting a girl. She has vaginal bleeding and bruising. There is some DNA on her. She has a head wound. His bodyguards blocked the entrance to the door so her friends couldn’t get to her. He does not get charged by the DA in Georgia. This man does NOTHING, and there’s a video showing he did NOTHING and he gets charged. That is ridiculous.
Cashman went on to scene-by-scene describe what was on the tape and how it showed nothing untoward.
“He apparently gets tired and the boy put his head in his father’s lap.”
Show of hands of moms and dads who have had their kid do that to them? Okay, hands down.
“The judge then described Mr. Leffler as rubbing the boy’s head and back, and hitting him ‘on the rump.'”
Mr. Leffler’s supervisor asked him about the complaint and Mr. Leffler TOLD HIS SUPERVISOR TO REVIEW THE TAPE. Whoa. That guy sounds like he did something bad. Whenever I do bad stuff and I know it was caught on tape, I’m always, “Hey! Let’s go watch the tape of me letting the air out of that IRS guy’s tires!”
The judge, after watching the tape that showed NOTHING, said he “was astounded the case was here. There was no factual basis for any of the charges. It’s troubling to think somebody could view that piece of tape and say these charges need to be filed.”
So why am I writing this?
Because if Mr. Leffner had been found guilty, they would have been chasing the man down the sidewalk with news cameras in his face saying, “Why are you such an evil man? How do you sleep at night? Would you give me an exclusive sit-down interview from your jail cell and will you cry?” But Mr. Leffner didn’t do a thing and guess what? It’s pretty darn quiet out there. Where’s the freaking apology from the DA’s office for ruining a year of the man’s life and for the rippling repercussions that Mr. Leffner will be faced with for quite some time?
Nowhere in the article. Nowhere online. Nowhere that I can find is the DA’s name mentioned in connection with ruining Mr. Leffner’s job and life, even though, in my opinion, the buck at the DA’s office stops with the DA.
So I’m writing this to say his name. You know it. Say it with me.
Stephen Zappala, Jr.
I feel better now.
And no, I don’t give a flip if that gets me “put squarely on the list” that the Zappalas are keeping.
Put me on there. In capital letters. Hell, I’ll write it myself so I can be sure they include the tilde over the second “n” in my last name. Mr. Leffner was wronged and Mr. Zappala wronged him.
Also, watch out, IRS. I’m still thinking about it.