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Man wants new judge in Westmoreland child luring case

Rich Cholodofsky
| Tuesday, July 10, 2018, 7:24 p.m.

A former Schuykill County man awaiting trial in Westmoreland County on charges that he attempted to lure a child into his home for sex wants a new judge to preside over his case.

In court documents filed this week, Edward J. Frisco, 49, contends Common Pleas Court Judge Rita Hathaway is biased against him because of statements she made during a pretrial hearing this year.

According to a transcript filed by Frisco’s defense lawyer Stephen M. Misko, Hathaway encouraged county prosecutors to amend criminal charges to include solicitation to commit rape.

Police initially charged Frisco with child luring and stalking offenses.

“The defendant believes and therefore avers that the unsolicited judicial comments created an outward impression of biasness and partiality in favor of the commonwealth against the defendant,” Misko wrote.

Frisco was charged last year for what police claim were two attempts to lure an 11-year-old Hunker girl from her school bus to his East Huntingdon home for sex.

Frisco has been living in the neighborhood with his parents since 2015. He was accused of molesting a 13-year-old girl in Pottsville, Schuylkill County, in 2012, and was sentenced to serve up to three years in prison after pleading guilty in 2013 to indecent assault and corruption of minors. He is required to register as a Megan’s Law offender.

Misko claimed that Hathaway appears to have “disdain” for Frisco by labeling him as a convicted sex offender.

The judge last week denied a request from Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Dupilka to amend the criminal charges against Frisco.

Hathaway scheduled a hearing next month on the defense request to have her removed from the case. Frisco’s trial is tentatively scheduled to begin in September.

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