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Gilpin man settles lawsuit against police

| Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, 1:06 a.m.

A Gilpin man who was suing the Leechburg Police Department and the state police on claims they conspired to illegally prosecute him and his wife has settled his case.

Dennis Kreashko's lawsuit was settled through mediation, according to the Leechburg Police Department's attorney, Paul D. Krepps.

According to Krepps, Leechburg agreed to pay Dennis Kreashko $4,000, and the state agreed to pay him $1,000.

“Any time you have a civil rights case, the law mandates that the parties go through mediation to see if we can settle” (before it goes to trial), Krepps said. “(The settlement) was a decision made by the insurance company and the commonwealth.”

Krepps said Jamie Kreashko voluntarily dropped her lawsuit.

The suit claimed Leechburg police Chief Mike Diebold and state police Cpl. Dan Herr filed harassment and stalking charges against the Kreashkos even though the county district attorney's office not only advised that the charges be withdrawn but refused to prosecute the case.

The suit, which originally was filed in Armstrong County Court, was moved to federal court in Pittsburgh because it claimed the charges violated Kreashko's First and Fourth Amendment rights.

Problems between the Kreashkos and Leechburg police started in 2008, when the couple claimed their son was forced into a vehicle against his will by two adults and taken to the Leechburg police station. The men were not police officers.

Dennis Kreashko claimed his then 11-year-old son was walking with two friends to a convenience store around Halloween 2008 when one of the three smashed some pumpkins outside a residence in Leechburg. He said two men in their 30s saw it and went after the boys.

Kreashko claimed the men were not within their rights to detain his son and wanted police to file charges against them. When police didn't file charges, Kreashko filed a private criminal complaint against the men.

He claimed that, after a period of inaction by the police, he and his wife persisted in seeking action.

The suit claimed that Diebold and Herr filed harassment and stalking charges against the couple without the backing of the district attorney's office in retaliation for the Kreashkos' insistence that their son's case be investigated.

A district judge later dismissed the charges against the couple.

Herr and Diebold refused to comment on the settlement. Diebold's attorney, Krepps, said the parties involved signed a confidentiality agreement so many of the details couldn't be discussed.

A number listed for Dennis and Jamie Kreashko has been disconnected.

Their attorney, Craig Alexander, did not return calls for comment.

R.A. Monti is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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