Ex-South Greensburg secretary will plead guilty to stealing from father, attorney says
South Greensburg’s former secretary, convicted last year of stealing more than $155,000 from the borough, will plead guilty next month to charges that he stole from his elderly father and lied about it to a county judge, his attorney said.
During a hearing Tuesday, Assistant Public Defender Chris Haidze said Dennis Lee Kunkle Jr. would accept a plea deal but did not disclose the details. The agreement will end the case that started at Kunkle’s sentencing hearing last October, in which he claimed he used his own retirement funds to repay the borough where he worked for nearly three decades.
Kunkle, 55, previously pleaded guilty to theft after prosecutors said he used borough money for his personal use and was sentenced to serve five years on probation. To facilitate that plea deal, Kunkle repaid the borough $101,000.
When questioned by Common Pleas Court Judge Rita Hathaway about the origin of the money, Kunkle denied taking the cash from his father’s funds.
An investigation resulted in new theft and perjury charges.
Kunkle has been in jail since his arrest on new charges filed in December. He is being held without a bond on the original case after Hathaway revoked his probation pending the outcome of his new charges.
In court Tuesday, Kunkle asked that his $100,000 bond in the theft and perjury case be cut in half to allow him to work in the library at the county jail. He said the jail policy does not allow him to work behind bars with a high bond.
“I don’t think we should be taking his word on anything. I would suggest we just not take the word of somebody charged with perjury,” said Assistant District Attorney Jim Lazar.
Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Feliciani said he would consider a bond reduction at if the defense can present testimony from jail officials that an internal policy is preventing Kunkle from working in the facility.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .