Righting wrongs.

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.

No. Way.

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.

Zappala.

Stephen Zappala, Jr.

There.

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.





55 Comments


  1. Melissa
    April 15, 2010 4:16 pm

    I saw this earlier today – here’s the URL

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10105/1050570-147.stm



  2. bluzdude
    April 15, 2010 4:18 pm

    I always wondered if you were rocking the tilde.

    Hey, that would be a good band name… the “Rockin’ Tildes.”

    But srsly, here you are again, righting the wrongs of the city. Maybe you ARE Awesome Possum…



  3. empirechick
    April 15, 2010 4:28 pm

    Is it possible to sue the DA for ruining his life without probably cause? If so, I hope he gets a mint out of it and Zappala is shown for the politcal hack he is.



  4. Kathy
    April 15, 2010 4:32 pm

    Kind of like when there was a big media firestorm about how a alleged rapist went free because the DA’s office couldn’t get the paperwork together in time, and Zappala said “this is the first time that’s ever happened.” Except for one thing. It was about the 100,000,001st time it had ever happened. Can’t get any media types to focus on that either. It’s good to be a Zappala in Zappala’s world.



  5. Kathy
    April 15, 2010 4:32 pm

    oh no! I bet I am on the list now too! Yea for me!! :)



  6. Vannevar
    April 15, 2010 4:54 pm

    I’m reminded of the weary question from Ray Donovan, a falsely maligned member of the Reagan administration. Upon his eventual exonoration, he asked “Which office do I go to get my reputation back?”



  7. Jake
    April 15, 2010 4:54 pm

    So the real question is: who did this driver piss off at the Port Authority, and what friends does Zappala have in the Port Authority?

    The driver should be able to sue the county for malicious prosecution in this case since the judge flatly rejected all of the prosecution’s assertions… And I hope he does.



  8. Sooska
    April 15, 2010 4:55 pm

    I hope Leffler can get some justice and his job back with full back pay and more. Here is a case where someone should be sued. Like everyone involved -the accuser, PAT, the police and the DA. Don’t know if he can though. Who is paying his attorney fees?

    I wished I was on Nixon’s enemies list. Can I get on Zappala’s?



  9. Smiley
    April 15, 2010 4:56 pm

    This is the same DA that the Orie sisters got all Chupacabra on. Could it be their Land of the Lost Chaca immitation has some merit?



  10. spoon
    April 15, 2010 5:06 pm

    Can you imagine how many timed you’d be fire from a job by now if you sucked at it like Zappy has?

    I really need to get into local politics because man oh man I could snort coke off stripper asses during a press conference and still be employed.



  11. Bojack
    April 15, 2010 5:09 pm

    Hey!!!

    What about y’all’s “where there’s smoke there must be fire!”
    mentality??

    You can’t have it both ways!



  12. Gina
    April 15, 2010 5:17 pm

    That is horrible! I am so angry for this man and his family.



  13. facie
    April 15, 2010 5:19 pm

    I am pissed about Big Ben and now I am pissed about this. What the H.



  14. Michele
    April 15, 2010 5:23 pm

    @Bojack – so true, so true.

    Also, I am sure part of the reasoning behind him losing his job was due to safetly violations of having a child playing on a bus such as was described in the PG article.

    But, otherwise, I agree with the statements that he should have some sort of way to make the DA compensate him for his lost reputation. So sad!



  15. Monty
    April 15, 2010 5:34 pm

    They have video cameras on public buses? That means that Speed movie with Keanue Reeves basically predicted the future. Just like Xanadu.



  16. Sooska
    April 15, 2010 5:55 pm

    point being, Bojack, there was no smoke in this case. smoke screen in the other.



  17. Steve
    April 15, 2010 6:06 pm

    Not to mention the damage that was probably done by having his children go through being without their father, except for supervised visits, for half a year…



  18. KGC
    April 15, 2010 7:01 pm

    Hey, Stephen! Put me on the list. You and your family are nothing but common criminals with political pull (see: too numerous to mention municipal financing/bond deals, the Luzerne County juvi-jail scam [how your Brother wasn’t charged simply astounds me], your Father’s ties to organized crime and gambling [again, a Luzerne County connection]). Too bad your Sister couldn’t even get a recommendation for her failed Judgeship election. I hope the Ories take you down.



  19. Still A Fan
    April 15, 2010 7:51 pm

    So a fair question to ask is should there be as much press for ben not being charged as there was when he was accused? I think its 90-10 in favor of accused.



  20. Bojack
    April 15, 2010 8:15 pm

    @Sooska-

    Wrong!! If you’re going to punish on mere accusations, it must be applied everywhere!

    You relinquish the luxury of hindsight, and “what a mistake”

    That’s the whole point!



  21. Luke Steelerstahl
    April 15, 2010 9:50 pm

    Last night I put my head in the Dread Lord’s lap and he patted my butt.

    I hope he doesn’t get in any trouble.



  22. Scott
    April 15, 2010 9:53 pm

    Mark it down…this may be the only time I agree with @bojackass’ comments.

    (btw, pecking this out from 37000 feet on American Airlines. In flight wifi is the BOMB!)



  23. Cassie
    April 15, 2010 10:17 pm

    This is so terrible. I feel terribly for his family. His kids will never forget this and it will probably stick with them for life. Shame on the DA. There is no excuse.

    Ben on the other hand is a loser. There’s no help for an asshole like him.



  24. Bojack
    April 15, 2010 11:51 pm

    @ScrOTTum-

    I’m touched.



  25. John Jacob
    April 15, 2010 11:56 pm

    @bojack

    Wrong! This bus driver didn’t get accused of sexual misconduct more than once, hence the “where’s there’s smoke there’s fire” wouldn’t be applicable in this case.



  26. Bojack
    April 16, 2010 12:06 am

    @John Jacob-

    So, your….uhh……”logic” is: 2 smokes means a fire?

    Wow!

    You’re a regular Stephen Hawking, or Prof. Mustard!

    How did we miss that?



  27. Bojack
    April 16, 2010 12:19 am

    ps @John Jacob-

    So, I guess he better not EVER hug his son or daughter in public ever again cuz that would surely be the ironclad SECOND (and therefore guilt-proving) strike/offense!



  28. John Jacob
    April 16, 2010 12:34 am

    @bojack yeah, i get it dude, you one of the two people left in pittsburgh defending ben, mark madden from the x is the other. You keep real good company. I await your cellphone pics from Benapolzooa II.

    Video evidence clearly showed this bus driver did nothing sexual.

    Smoking Gun has like 25 pages of statements from several people around ben and his crew that are saying the same thing, not to mention the physical evidence Ginny mentions….

    yes, you’re right, it’s the exact same thing



  29. Xena
    April 16, 2010 12:47 am

    Good for you. Just another example of why traditional media outlets are either in sharp decline (newspapers) or not taken seriously beyond weather and sports (local TV news). We have increasing evidence that there is something very wrong in the DA’s office, something we should keep in mind the next time he runs for office. He sure won’t have my vote.

    The apology should have come at a news conference and published on the front page. And then the state attorney should have opened an investigation into Zappala’s office.



  30. Bojack
    April 16, 2010 7:12 am

    @John Jacob-

    OK John, I’ll talk REAL slow, so you can maybe get it, if not, go to WalMart and buy a clue:

    It’s not about BEN!!

    It’s about passing judgement on an a mere allegation!

    In Ben’s case you did, and you claim a prior totally spurious claim buy a money-grubbing whore looking for a payoff has merit, it doesn’t.

    Didn’t I hear John Jacob is a child molester?

    OH, that was totally untrue and misconstrued?

    [6 months later]

    John Jack is again accused of inappropriate touching with a child!

    You MUST be guilty because you were accused before!!



  31. Bojack
    April 16, 2010 7:21 am

    Morons must be very insecure, and therefore feel more comfortable in numbers, which explains them quickly jumping on bandwagons, even ones where they have no idea of where they are heading!

    It’s not about Ben, it’s about the process.

    It’s about Zappala and his gross inadequacy as a DA.



  32. butcher's dog
    April 16, 2010 8:25 am

    Isn’t there such a thing as false arrest? And can’t this driver sue for it? And even if he doesn’t get his job back (all who assume his reputation is shot are right), can’t he sue PAT for bringing charges in the first place? Even if his lawyers get 3 of every 4 dollars he may collect, it would be worth it.

    On the other hand, I’m not rooting for the Ories when they come to bat. No way am I putting that team picture on my bedroom wall! Who should we pull for in a contest where both sides stink?



  33. Jen
    April 16, 2010 8:34 am

    OK – totally off topic. BUT, is there a facebook group for people who want to see Ben gone. I can’t stand the thought of cheering for him. Hey, if facebook can get Betty White on SNL, maybe we can send Big Ben on his way :-)



  34. PG Wodehouse
    April 16, 2010 8:48 am

    Whoa, Bojack. Aren’t you doing the same thing to the Las Vegas woman. A woman has some kind of sexual encounter with a famous athlete and now wants monetary damages for being raped. Therefore, she must be a money grubbing whore. The LV case is the ultimate he said/she said case and while we have heard some of the facts, we may not have heard everything.



  35. PG Wodehouse
    April 16, 2010 8:58 am

    A tortured analogy – I work for a hospital. Malpractice is a huge expense for us. What we have found is that is not only medical mistakes that get doctors sued. A doctor is more likely to be sued for malpractice if he is also an asshole.

    Think of all the professional athletes out there screwing everything that moves. Between the major pro sports there are around 3,000 pro athletes. Say only 100 of them are highly sexually promiscuous (multiple partners per week). That’s about 10,000 encounters in a given year. Out of all of them, why is it that only Ben is accused of sexual assault?



  36. DG
    April 16, 2010 9:18 am

    It is absolutely terrifying the power the DA’s office wields.



  37. Erin
    April 16, 2010 9:40 am

    I read this last night and it made my jaw drop. And I couldn’t believe the DA’s name wasn’t mentioned in the article. Man…I never wanted to have anything in common with the Ories!



  38. Mama Moose
    April 16, 2010 10:11 am

    @Bojack. These are not the only 2 claims of asshattery against Ben. There have been numerous reports from various women that he is at the very least extremely disrespectful to women who spurn his oafish advances. Does that make him guilty of rape every time someone accuses him of it? No, of course not. But I don’t think anyone ever said it did. He has also exhibited poor judgement in a number of situations, and he has developed a track record of such behavior. These facts are not in dispute. But it is much different to say that someone who’s whole job is to provide entertainment and promote the values of the NFL has repeatedly and deliberately failed at those aspects of his job so many times that it is not surprising that he’s done it again than it is to accuse a father of sexually abusing his son in public with NO evidence, ruining his life for a year, and then not receiving so much as an apology and be outraged at it. You are free to slowly, and with pictorial assistance, explain to me why I am wrong.



  39. Mama Moose
    April 16, 2010 10:17 am

    Here’s part of Tony Norman’s piece today, with reference to the incident:

    Heads should roll at the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office for the charges filed against former Port Authority bus driver Anthony Leffler of Morningside. Mr. Leffler was accused of fondling his son, an act allegedly caught by a surveillance camera, according to the DA’s office. When Allegheny County Judge David Cashman looked at the tape he was outraged because it didn’t show anything the DA’s office alleged.

    Mr. Leffler was ordered by the county’s Department of Children, Youth and Families to live apart from his family during the investigation. He lost his job with the Port Authority shortly after that and has had to live with the stigma of having molested his son.

    “There was no factual basis for any of the charges,” Judge Cashman said after throwing out the case. “It’s troubling to think somebody could view that piece of tape and say these charges need to be filed.”

    It’s up to the citizens of Allegheny County to decide whether Mr. Leffler was a victim of incompetence or prosecutorial misconduct.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10106/1050795-153.stm?cmpid=bcpanel1#ixzz0lGy827Jy
    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10106/1050795-153.stm?cmpid=bcpanel1



  40. Virginia
    April 16, 2010 10:17 am

    Word to Mama Moose.



  41. Pierce H.
    April 16, 2010 10:25 am

    Well, for the “where there’s smoke” crowd, we all know what you are referencing. But here is the reality: in the first statement written by Mr. Roethlisberger’s accuser, shortly after the “incident” and while it was still very fresh in her mind, she claims she told him: “‘I don’t know if this is a good idea,’ and he said ‘it’s OK’, he had sex with me.” On it’s face, this does not necessarily manifest non-consent. It is a simple declarative that no one can deny, as in “I know I shouldn’t do this, but what the hell.” (Of course, it is also well to remember that she told a police officer immediately after the incident that she was NOT raped, and wasn’t even sure if she had sex, according to the D.A.)

    Then, hours later, when the actual incident wasn’t so fresh in her mind, after she had ample time to “reflect” — and speak with her sorority sisters and any number of others — she prepared a second, more “careful” statement. This time she described a much more elaborate scenario, with critical details not noted in the first statement. This time, she claims she said: “I . . . said no, this is not OK, and he then had sex with me. He said it was OK. He then left without saying anything.”

    See my post: http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/2010/04/two-statements-of-roethlisberger.html

    “No, this is not OK,” is materally different from “I don’t know if this is a good idea.”

    So which statement was more reliable? Which was more credible? While we don’t know for certain, the second statement reasonably suggests a woman attempting to manufacture a narrative that included the elements of rape. It raises a troublesome credibility problem that almost certainly factored into the decision not to pursue the charges against your beloved quarterback. One doesn’t need “smoke” to come to that conclusion. A fair reading of the woman’s own statements evidences that.

    None of that excuses Mr. Roethlisberger’s sexual immaturity.



  42. Erin
    April 16, 2010 10:32 am

    Wow, Tony Norman, AMEN to everything you said!



  43. Still A Fan
    April 16, 2010 10:56 am

    The person who tried to defend the woman in LV is simply clueless. I also agree with bojack on this issue. The woman sent emails the day after telling her friends she had sex with ben. Its on the record. Read the emails. People don’t want to take an hour to read 50 emails but they will see a headline and assume guilt when its ben. You can be the biggest asshole on the planet and the biggest man whore on the planet. Does that mean you would force yourself on a girl??????? NO!

    Asshole manwhore immature stupid hair does not mean he’s an animal. Now everyone will read how the girl changed her story and they STILL think he forced himself on her. And maybe instead of lumping people in on bens side as stupid or uncaring, maybe WE knew someone who was falsely accused before so its as close to home for us as it is for you.



  44. jennviolet
    April 16, 2010 11:00 am

    Thank you for this post. I applaud you. I remember hearing about the “incident” on the news way back when. Now, besides the disgust I have for Zappala, what really makes me super angry is that the local tv stations haven’t followed up on this outcome and the judge’s decision. At least, not to MY knowledge. So, thank you again for bringing it to mine and everyone else’s attention. Finally, WAKE UP WTAE, WPXI AND KDKA…YOU CAN MAKE IT RIGHT TOO.



  45. Monty
    April 16, 2010 11:03 am

    #7 just left without saying anything after whatever happened happened? Who does that? Is he the goddam Hamburglar??



  46. PG Wodehouse
    April 16, 2010 11:55 am

    I’m only saying that we shouldn’t pre judge the LV woman on her first foray into money grubby whoredom.



  47. Mike
    April 16, 2010 11:58 am

    Note T Norman’s piece also does not mention the DA by name.

    What’s the deal? Does Zappala have 2,000 subscriptions? I expect more from PG.



  48. PG Wodehouse
    April 16, 2010 12:08 pm

    Pierce, they were at least concerned enough to seek out a police officer at the time to report a possible sexual assault. They also went to a hospital to have a rape kit done which showed at least rough consensual sex in which Ben did not follow through to completion or used a condom.

    Show of hands, guys. How many of you have had consensual sex where you caused genital bruising and bleeding?