February 4, 2009
HARRISBURG — State lawmakers are seeking ways to compensate children sent to detention centers by a pair of Luzerne County judges charged with taking kickbacks for sending juvenile defendants to facilities in Luzerne and Butler counties.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Stewart Greenleaf said yesterday he would hold a hearing to find ways to help the children and their families. One option is to provide money from the crime victims compensation fund, said Mr. Greenleaf, R-Montgomery.
The hearing, which has not yet been scheduled, is at the request of Republican Sens. Lisa Baker and John Gordner, whose districts include parts of Luzerne County.
They made the request yesterday, the same day a third Luzerne County court official was arrested in the ongoing corruption probe.
Court Administrator William T. Sharkey Sr., 57, of West Hazelton, yesterday agreed to plead guilty to embezzling more than $70,000 in illegal gambling money seized by authorities between June 1998 and June 2008.
Two other county court officials were charged last week with fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.
Judge Mark A. Ciavarella and former Senior Judge Michael T. Conahan are accused of taking $2.6 million for sending children to two facilities owned by Pittsburgh businessman Greg Zappala.
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