Two troopers cleared of charges
A Carbon County jury panel of eight men and four women deliberated for four hours Friday afternoon and evening before finding two state troopers not guilty of computer crimes.
Erin Cawley, 42, and Anthony K. Kingsley, 34, of Walnutport, were charged by state police at Fern Ridge with entering the Facebook account of a 42-year-old Jim Thorpe woman without her permission and sending messages to another person, deleting messages or altering them.
Kingsley was charged with unlawful use of a computer, computer trespass and criminal conspiracy — unlawful use of computer. Cawley was charged with criminal conspiracy — unlawful use of a computer and criminal conspiracy — computer trespass.
The panel found them not guilty of all charges. The jury reached its verdict just before 9:30 p.m.
The jury had a question for presiding Judge Steven R. Serfass about 8:15 p.m. The court did not disclose the nature of the question.
The jury was selected Monday and testimony began Tuesday morning.
Both denied the accusations.
Kingsley, who had an affair with the victim, said she had given him the password to her Facebook account and never told him after their relationship ended that he could not use it. Cawley said she was aware of Kingsley having the password, but felt he still had permission to use it. The two were not married at the time, but did marry in February 2017.
Both troopers have been suspended without pay since their arrest in 2017.
Kingsley was the final witness, testifying late Friday morning.
He admitted having a four-month long affair with the victim, and during that time, she gave him her password for her Facebook account. She never told him to stop using it, even after the affair ended when Cawley found out about it. The woman also did not change the password after the breakup.
Defense counsel Brett J. Riegel asked why he started an affair with another woman while living for the past few years with Cawley, who was pregnant with his child.
“There was a lot going on in my life, a child coming, I bought a house, I pressed the panic button,” Kingsley said.
He said he met the victim at a party and a few days later, he received a friendly text message from her. He said he felt “flattered.”
He said he received more text messages from the woman that were sexual in nature and the affair eventually began.
She told him he could use her Facebook account whenever he wanted. He said he did use it at times, but at first always told her when he was using it and when he was finished.
One time when he notified her he had used the account, he said she told him, “I don’t have to know when you are using it.”
Cawley found out about the affair and confronted him. He said he agreed to end it and sent the victim a message in early August 2016, that the affair was over and they should not contact each other again. He said the victim responded by saying he was not worth “the aggravation” and agreed to end the affair.
He said he then learned that the woman was making contacts with neighbors. One day he got a message from her on his private workplace account, which he deleted. He then notified his superior of the incident.
He said he and Cawley had many talks about the situation and admitted he hoped “it would just go away.”
Previous testimony indicated the woman had made contact with Cawley’s ex-husband. The two were in the middle of a custody dispute when Cawley learned about the victim being with her ex and her son she had with him. She went to court for an emergency order to stop the victim from having contact with the child.
Kingsley told Cawley in January 2017 that he had the victim’s password for her Facebook account. He said he was surprised when the password still worked. He admitted he and Cawley got information from the account to try to help with the custody matter.
Under questioning by the prosecutor Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Ann Elo, Kingsley said he felt “off” when the woman told him he could use the Facebook account. He said she sent back to him items he gave to her during the affair and was communicating with Cawley.
Prior testimony included many of the messages the woman and Cawley exchanged. One particular message the woman sent to Cawley outlined the many times she had met with him for sex and the locations the meetings occurred.
Kingsley admitted in January 2017 he entered the woman’s Facebook and printed some items from it and sent some items to another person. He denied deleting anything.
During the trial, the day began with Cawley being cross-examined by Elo. Cawley finished her direct testimony late Thursday afternoon when Serfass recessed.
During the cross-examination, Cawley became argumentative with Elo. Twice, Serfass had to caution her about her response to questions put to her by the commonwealth and told her not to speak while the court was speaking. When the conduct continued, Serfass recessed to give Cawley’s attorney, James A. Swetz, a chance to speak to her. After the recess, she was more calm on the stand.
Cawley said when her superiors at the state police did nothing about the harassment from the woman she never contacted any other law enforcement or state police headquarters in Harrisburg about the situation. She also admitted never trying to get a protective order against the victim.
The victim claimed some months after the affair ended, she learned that Kingsley had gone into her Facebook account. She admitted that after the affair ended, she never told him to not use the account, nor did she change the password. She said after the affair was over for four months, she assumed he knew he was no longer permitted to use it.
The woman admitted that some of the actions against Cawley were to get back at her. She claimed she wanted to let Cawley know what type of person she was with. She claimed that Cawley had threatened her life.
In prior testimony, when Kingsley was on the phone with the victim asking her to stop contacts with him and Cawley, Cawley shouted into the phone, “I’m going to kill you” and “I’ll kick your teeth out.”
Cawley then drove to the victim’s home and a confrontation occurred, leading to Jim Thorpe police being called. No charges were filed.
Swetz told the jury in his closing that the case was like the movie “Fatal Attraction” in which a ex-mistress harassed her former lover after he had ended the affair. He also said the victim acted like a “woman scorned.”
He said the real victim was Cawley, because of the Jim Thorpe woman’s actions after the affair was broken off. “Don’t make her a victim a third time,” he said.
Riegel said the case is an example of “actions speaking louder than words.” He pointed to the actions of the victim in trying to inject herself into their lives and contact neighbors and others after the affair had ended.
He said while being interviewed by the state police prosecutor, Sgt. James Youngblood, she never mentioned to him that she had given Kingsley her password and didn’t tell him he could not use it again. He said she had done that. He said Youngblood would have “closed the book, case over.”
Elo argued that the case was one in which there was little dispute about the facts.
She said that Cawley and Kingsley were guilty of the crimes because four months after the affair ended, with no contacts directly between the victim and Kingsley, he went into her Facebook account. She compared it to an employee who has a key to his employer’s property, gets fired, but forgets to return the key.
Then, four months later, the former employee uses the key to go the property and take items or destroy items. She said it’s common sense for that employee to know he had no right to do that.
She said it was same with the defendants going into the Facebook account four months later. She said they knew it was not legal and they are guilty of the crimes.