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Westmoreland

Ex-carnival worker convicted of molesting boys drops bid to skip sex-offender registration

| Tuesday, May 29, 2018, 3:09 p.m.
Metrocreative

An elderly ex-carnival worker has withdrawn his request to be exempted from sex-offender registration requirements if he is released from prison.

Joseph Busija, 87, formerly of Penn Township, had written to Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Timothy Krieger last month, arguing that his 1997 conviction for molesting two children from Florida and Jeannette predated the state's registration requirement for sex offenders, so he shouldn't have to register when and if he is paroled from his 15- to 30-year prison sentence.

Authorities and witnesses at his trial said Busija met the two victims at carnivals where he worked, and they ended up in his custody before he began molesting them. One victim, from Florida, lived with Busija nearly nine years until they tried to cross the Canadian border with a pet pig; the victim escaped when border agents denied the pig entry, and the boy was sent back to Penn Township with it.

Prosecutors answered in a brief that while parts of the law requiring registration at the time of his conviction were declared unconstitutional in 1999, the registration requirement more generally has been upheld and reinforced by more recent laws.

Busija was scheduled for a hearing Tuesday morning but wrote another letter to Krieger asking to withdraw the motion. He was not present in court, having previously waived being transported from the State Correctional Institute at Laurel Highlands.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724 836 6660, msantoni@tribweb.com or via Twitter @msantoni.

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