Bail reduction denied for ex-constable
A district justice Tuesday denied a request to reduce the bail of a former Clairton constable accused of sexually molesting four young males.
Despite assurances from John D. Sorrentino's attorney, District Justice Armand Martin of Clairton refused to lower Sorrentino's bail from $80,000 to $20,000.
Sorrentino, 47, of St. Clair Avenue in Clairton, is charged with four counts of corruption of minors, three counts of criminal solicitation, three counts of indecent assault, three counts of endangering the welfare of children, and one count each of involuntary deviate sexual assault, selling or furnishing liquor, malt or brew to a minor and official oppression.
Yesterday, Sorrentino also waived his right to a preliminary hearing before Martin and will face all charges in Common Pleas court.
Jeffrey Wasak, Sorrentino's attorney, argued that his client's poor health and lack of money would have kept him from fleeing the area. In addition, Wasak had offered his assurance that Sorrentino would have no contact with alleged victims or anyone under the age of 18.
Although Assistant District Attorney Laurel Derry said she would not object to the bond reduction, it was Martin's decision to deny the request.
"These are very serious charges on some very defenseless children," Martin said.
Police said three of the alleged victims were in their teens when the assaults occurred and the fourth was 7 years old. In addition, one of the teens was described by police as being mentally challenged. According to court documents, at least two of the victims claimed that Sorrentino used a Pennsylvania State constable's badge to frighten them into thinking he could have them arrested if they reported the assaults.
Sorrentino was elected constable in 1992 and served in the district court in Clairton. When Martin took office in January 1994, he terminated Sorrentino's employment with that court "the very first day," he said.