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Corkery violates his bail

Published September 24. 2011 09:01AM

Coaldale mayor Richard Corkery, who violated conditions of his bail on charges of downloading child pornography, will be placed on home electronic monitoring beginning Monday.

Until then, Corkery, 72, of 249 Early Ave., will remain in Carbon County Correctional Facility, where he was taken on Monday after admitting to twice being around a child, a violation of the conditions.

Corkery will be permitted to continue to attend junior varsity games with a neighbor, go shopping and attend church. However, he will not be permitted to visit the child's home, President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II ruled. His bail remains at $50,000 unsecured.

"There is no question in the court's mind there was a violation," Nanovic said.

Corkery took the stand in his own defense Friday, testifying before Nanovic that he had no idea the conditions had been changed after an Aug. 1 hearing before Judge Steven Serfass, despite testifying that he received copies of the changes from his lawyer, Nicholas Quinn, and from probation officer Jillian McGinley, who spoke with him about them following the Aug. 1 hearing.

Corkery claimed not to have read the conditions, nor did he hear anything about that specific change at that court session, he testified.

Corkery testified that he believed one of the conditions - that he not be around children under 18 with adult supervision, as set by District Judge Casimir Kosciolek of Lansford on July 14 - remained unchanged.

He believed that, he testified, because the conditions allowed him to continue to attend school sporting events with his neighbors, who have a child in their house. Further, Corkery testified, "there are lots of kids" at the sporting events.

Matika said Corkery "thumbed his nose" at court orders.

Serfass, at the Aug. 1 hearing, dropped the adult supervision clause. That meant Corkery was forbidden from being around children at all. However, he was twice seen with one particular child, according to testimony offered by borough resident Michael Watkins, who said he saw Corkery talking with the child between 4-5 p.m. Sept. 9, and Coaldale police officer Joseph Krebs, who saw him talking with the same child at 6:20 p.m. Sept. 11.

The child's father, whose name will not be published in the TIMES NEWS in order to protect the identity of the child, testified that he welcomes Corkery into his home. He testified he's known Corkery for about five years, and has traveled to "numerous cities and numerous sporting events with this man. He is like a grandfather to my children."

The man testified that he frequently invites Corkery to his home for dinners, and that Corkery never arrives uninvited. He testified that either he or his wife was home when Corkery was there.

In answer to questions from Assistant District Attorney Joseph Matika, the man said he only discussed Corkery's legal case with Corkery "vaguely. I didn't want to get involved."

He did testify that Corkery mentioned his bail conditions, telling the man that he must be under adult supervision when around children.

"I trust him a lot around my family," the child's father said.

Corkery was called to the county probation department Monday afternoon, after reports of his proximity to the child were made known. Mcginley said he admitted to having been around the child, but said there were adults present. He was immediately taken to jail.

Quinn asked Corkery if he had been on suicide watch. Corkery said he was, on Tuesday into Wednesday, "because I'm an elected official." Corkery, who moved to Coaldale from Philadelphia about six years ago, was elected mayor in 2009.

Quinn also mentioned he had seen Corkery lying flat on the ground in the holding cell."

Matika asked Nanovic to increase Corkery's bail to $27,000 cash. But Corkery said he could raise only $500 because his home carries a $10,000 mortgage and his monthly income is limited to $1,100 in Social Security and a $900 pension. He told Nanovic he's never been married, "but I have raised several children as my own."

Quinn asked Nanovic to allow Corkery to continue to visit the child's home. Matika opposed that, and Nanovic declined to allow it, saying it would be difficult, given the electronic monitoring.

On July 14, Corkery admitted to having searched for and downloaded 28 sexually explicit images of boys. He allegedly downloaded the images on his work computer on six days between Feb. 15 and March 28, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Nesquehoning Police Chief Sean Smith.

Corkery admitted to police that he had searched for sexual images of teenage boys on the computer, and downloaded 34 images of young men engaged in sexual acts, 28 of whom were determined by police experts to be teenagers.

After receiving a tip, police began their investigation on April 6. On May 16, Federal Bureau of Investigation agent John Bates, state Trooper Scott Sotack and Smith spoke with Corkery, who admitted searching for and looking at child pornography sites, including those showing images of naked males under age 18.

Corkery was arraigned July 14 on 28 counts of child pornography before Kosciolek, and released under $50,000 recognizance bail, with conditions that included not being around children unsupervised by an adult and not having or using a computer.

Corkery is scheduled to plead guilty to the charges on Oct. 25.

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