Judge fines Lower Burrell councilman $600 for harassment, trespassing
A Lower Burrell councilman was found guilty of harassing his ex-fiancee after she said he continued to contact her after she and a police officer told him not to.
Cecelia Sharrock testified in a Turtle Creek district court Tuesday that Joseph Grillo even went to the bank where she works to return her underwear and other items on the day the two originally were set to be married.
“He brought in coats, but he also brought in my personal things,” Sharrock testified.
He was fined $600, plus court costs.
Neither Grillo nor his attorney, Stephen Yakopec Jr., appeared for the scheduled summary trial on charges of harassment and defiant trespassing before District Judge Scott Schricker in Turtle Creek.
A phone message left for Grillo wasn’t immediately returned. Yakopec declined to comment on the allegations, but said he wasn’t aware the trial was scheduled and he intends to file an appeal.
Yakopec said he asked the judge’s office for a continuance more than a week ago.
“Typically, you’re notified. You have a continuance or you don’t. I was never notified,” Yakopec said.
Sharrock filed a private criminal complaint against Grillo, 59, in February. Allegheny County Assistant District Attorney Sarah Weikart approved the complaint, sending the matter to district court.
Unlike a police criminal complaint, a private complaint must be approved by an assistant district attorney to proceed. If approved, the process is the same as if the complaint had been filed by a police officer.
Sharrock of Duquesne testified that she and Grillo broke off their engagement Oct. 14. She said she told him she no longer wanted to have contact with him.
The two had a five-hour-long text conversation in January over her engagement ring, which Grillo wanted back, Sharrock testified. The conversation then turned to the couple’s wedding rings.
On Jan. 5, the two went to the Lower Burrell police station to exchange rings, police Chief Tim Weitzel said.
Sharrock told Grillo that she wanted no further contact with him and did not want him coming to her house or her place of employment, according to Weitzel. After she left, police reiterated to Grillo that he should not contact Sharrock in any manner for any reason, and Grillo stated he understood, Weitzel said.
Sharrock reported further harassment to Lower Burrell police in January, but Weitzel said she was advised to file reports in the communities where the alleged incidents happened.
Weitzel said one of the reports was related to a Facebook friend request, while the other had to do with Grillo showing up at a bank where Sharrock worked on Jan. 19, their planned wedding day.
Another woman who works at the bank testified that Sharrock wasn’t there when Grillo showed up. She said that Grillo asked her if it would be OK if he returned Sharrock’s coat. She said Grillo came in with bags.
Sharrock said Grillo brought a bra, underwear, and a bag of things that were of no use to her to the bank. She testified she had told Grillo to burn anything he had of hers.
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, [email protected] or via Twitter .