News Briefing
Oct 18, 2012 | 550 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Court clerk dismisses Paige's appeal

Marcia M. Waldron, clerk of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, has dismissed the appeal of Officer Michael Paige, who allegedly sexual assaulted another man while on duty five years ago.

In June, a federal jury awarded $165,000 to James Harris, who claims that Paige forced him to perform oral sex on him in March 2007 in a secluded area of Fairmount Park.

Paige appealed the jury verdict to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

But on Oct. 3, Waldron dismissed the appeal due to non-payment of the court-transcript fee — which must be paid for a federal appeal to move forward.

Brian M. Puricelli, an attorney for Paige, had no comment for this story.

Brian F. Humble, an attorney for Harris, said Paige’s appeal was meritless.

Humble recently filed court papers seeking to seize Paige’s assets in order to satisfy the jury award, plus $19,166.48 in accrued interest.

Humble also has filed a motion with U.S. District Judge Robert F. Kelly that seeks Paige’s incarceration until he pays $3,753 in attorneys’ fees and costs to Harris.

In a brief interview, Humble said those fees and costs were incurred due to a dispute during the discovery phase of the Harris litigation.

At press time, a hearing on the request for Paige’s incarceration hadn’t been scheduled.

Humble also plans to seek an additional $600,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs from Paige, which he said were incurred throughout the course of the Harris litigation.

But a court hasn’t yet ordered Paige to pay those additional attorneys’ fees and costs.

Paige, 46, was dismissed from the Philadelphia police force shortly after the alleged sexual-assault incident.

But he was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in 2008.

The following year, he was reinstated to the force, after an independent arbitrator reduced his discipline from dismissal to a 30-day suspension.

His annual salary is $62,519, according to personnel records in the city’s Office of Human Resources.

Challenger of Haverford’s LGBT ordinance dies

Fred W. Teal, a Havertown resident who filed a legal challenge to the township’s LGBT-inclusive antibias ordinance, died Sept. 21 of natural causes. He was 77.

Teal’s death calls into question the future of his 19-month legal challenge to the ordinance.

The litigation doesn’t necessary end due to Teal’s death, said Dan Siegel, a Haverford Township commissioner.

“Merely because someone dies does not mean that any litigation in which the person is involved ends,” Siegel told PGN. “Instead, the person’s estate must determine how or if to proceed.”

At the time of his death, Teal was seeking a permanent injunction, preventing the township from implementing the ordinance.

Teal claimed the township exceeded state law when it enacted the ordinance in February 2011.

Louis M. DeVecchis 3d, a Haverford resident who advocated for the ordinance, expressed sadness about Teal’s death.

“I’m very sad that the gentleman died,” DeVecchis told PGN. “I hope Mr. Teal can rest in peace. And I look forward to the prompt implementation of the township’s LGBT ordinance.”

The ordinance bans discrimination in employment, housing, commercial property and public accommodations in the township and extends to sexual orientation and gender identity.

The ordinance also authorizes the creation of a seven-member human-relations panel to investigate antibias complaints, and allows for penalties of up to $5,000 per discriminatory act.

Siegel said efforts are under way to appoint members to the panel.

Judge dismisses Conshy challenge

Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Bernard A. Moore has dismissed another legal challenge to Conshohocken’s LGBT-inclusive antibias ordinance filed by James D. Schneller.

In a one-sentence order dated Oct. 11, Moore dismissed the challenge, without elaborating.

In March, Moore dismissed an earlier challenge to the ordinance filed by Schneller, on the basis that it lacked legal standing.

But last month, Schneller filed another challenge — adding new claims that borough officials discriminated against him as a Christian when enacting the ordinance.

Michael J. Savona, the borough solicitor, said Conshohocken is implementing the ordinance, despite Schneller’s litigation.

“We’re hoping Mr. Schneller will move on to more productive activity, and leave the borough and its ordinances for the citizens of Conshohocken to worry about,” Savona told PGN.

Schneller, who lives in Radnor, couldn’t be reached for comment.

He’s co-founder of Philadelphia Metro Task Force, an anti-LGBT group with about 75 members representing about 20 municipalities in the state.

Meanwhile, borough officials await a ruling on their request for the court to bar Schneller from filing additional pro-se challenges to the ordinance.

The borough also wants Schneller to pay $1,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs due to his second challenge to the ordinance.

In a separate action, the borough is seeking about $18,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs from Schneller due to his initial challenge to the ordinance.

Savona said that request is expected to be heard by an arbitration board.

— Timothy Cwiek Come out for antibullying

Temple Emanuel of Cherry Hill and Big Splash Productions present Anti-Bullying Day & Just for You Expo from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 21 at Cherry Hill High School East, 1750 Kresson Road.

The free, nondenominational event is open to the community and will include workshops and discussions on antibullying efforts, as well as performance of “Blue Lou and the Bullyfish” and guest speakers such as Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn, New Jersey Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt and others.

For more information, visit Capture your city

On Oct. 26, Action AIDS will be one of 40 sites citywide participating in the annual Philly Photo Day, hosted by the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center.

The event encourages people throughout the city to pick up a camera and take a photo of any subject within Philadelphia. All photos received will be printed and displayed in the Crane Arts Building in Kensington.

Local artists will lead free photography workshops at Action AIDS and other community locations, providing cameras and their expertise for interested amateur photogs.

For more information, visit

Out & Equal to convene in region

A national LGBT advocacy agency later this month will bring together thousands of LGBTs and human-resources professionals, many from the local area, to advance LGBT workplace equality.

Out & Equal will host its annual summit Oct. 29-Nov. 1 in Baltimore, Md.

The organization works to make sure employers are educated on topics regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.

Out & Equal Philadelphia, a local affiliate of the national program, has been pushing for a strong local presence at the event.

“We’ve been working on the right messaging and advertising to encourage people to attend the summit,” said Out & Equal Philadelphia co-chair Derek Tarcza. “We feel that there is so much value to this summit. We want to energize the community on various topics.”

Tarcza hopes that up to 400 people from Philadelphia attend the event.

Last year’s summit in Dallas, Texas, drew 2,500 people.

“I believe this summit will really open people’s eyes to different issues that they never had exposure to,” Tarcza said. “We have presenters with great tools and knowledge that people could bring back to their companies and organizations.”

Among the speakers will be Judy Shepard, LGBT advocate and mother of slain college student Matthew Shepard; Tammy Smith, the military’s first openly LGBT general; and Zach Wahls, LGBT ally and author.

Participants can choose from more than 100 workshops, which will focus on topics such as ally leadership development, transgender inclusion and LGBT diversity leadership.

Tarcza said local co-chair Ray DiFrancesco has been integral in rallying local support for the summit.

“We share the same passion in workplace issues,” he said. “We want people to feel comfortable coming out in the workplace and being fully themselves.”

The local chapter has hosted a regional Out & Equal conference and an all-day summit at the Comcast Center.

For more information about the Out & Equal summit, visit

Dos and don’ts of LGBT weddings

Looking to say “I do” this year?

The Say I Do LGBT Wedding expo will be held from 1-4 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel, 220 S. 17th St.

The expo will feature a variety of local vendors willing and ready to help with all wedding details. The event is open to couples and singles.

Tickets are $7 for singles and $10 for couples.

For more information, visit

Free legal advice for elders

The LGBT Elder Initiative will host a legal clinic at 11 a.m. Oct. 27 at the William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St.

The clinic is free and will include information on the documents needed for legal planning, such as living wills, directives and medical and financial powers of attorney. The documents will be prepared by attorneys for free following the workshop. In order to have attorneys prepare the documents, those interested must register for the event.

To RSVP, email name and telephone number to or call 267-546-3448.

— Angela Thomas

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