Joe Perciavalle at the Beaver County Courthouse awaiting his preliminary hearing / photo by John Paul
Listen To This Article:

A county district judge has for the second time dismissed felony charges filed against Aliquippa’s suspended assistant police chief alleging he texted obscene materials to a minor.

District Judge Joseph Schafer dismissed felony charges against Joseph Perciavalle at a preliminary hearing today. The charges were disseminating sexually explicit material to a minor and unlawful contact with a minor.

District Judge Edward Howe previously dismissed those same charges on Dec. 4.

Perciavalle was first arrested by Beaver County Detectives on June 8, 2018 on charges of felony distribution of sexually explicit material to a minor, felony unlawful contact with a minor, and misdemeanor corruption of a minor.

County detectives alleged that Perciavalle sent then-17-year-old Lauren Watkins a text message containing a short video of a semi-nude woman urinating while on a swing.

Both Perciavalle and Watkins have said the “meme” video was sent to her by mistake as part of a group text message intended for her father, Aliquippa Police Sgt. Kenneth Watkins, who has since been demoted to patrolman.

The video was discovered when detectives were examining Lauren Watkins’ phone as part of their investigation into the 2018 Mother’s Day murder of Rachael DelTondo.

During a preliminary hearing on Dec. 4, Watkins testified that the clip was accidentally sent to her by Perciavalle, and that she had not viewed it until she was shown a copy by county detectives as part of their investigation.

District Judge Edward Howe subsequently dismissed the two felony charges of disseminating sexually explicit materials and unlawful contact with a minor, but held for trial the misdemeanor corruption of minors charge.

Howe also held for court a charge from a second case filed by county detectives alleging a felony wiretap violation for a recording Perciavalle made of Aliquippa Police Chief Donald Couch, who is also currently on administrative suspension.

County District Attorney David Lozier’s office removed itself from the cases earlier this year after an ethics advisory opinion by the Pennsylvania Bar Association determined he had a conflict because Perciavalle intended to call him as a witness.

Perciavalle alleges that he provided Lozier with evidence of corruption in Aliquippa in 2016, but that Lozier ignored it and is now engaged in a retaliatory prosecution against him. Lozier admits he met with Perciavalle and that the officer provided him with documents, but vehemently denies Perciavalle’s assertions that he ignored evidence of wrongdoing by Aliquippa police or is engaged in retaliation.

The state Attorney General’s office subsequently took over prosecution of the cases against Peciavalle and on May 9 refiled the two felony charges against him that were dismissed by Howe last year.

The “double jeopardy” clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution does not apply to preliminary hearings because there is no possibility a defendant can be convicted at that stage of the proceedings.

Unlike the last preliminary hearing, today prosecutors did not call Watkins to the stand, telling the judge it does not matter whether or not she viewed herself as a victim.

The results were the same, with a second judge dismissing the case.

Defense attorney Steven Townsend strongly criticized the Attorney General’s Office for refiling the charges against Perciavalle, echoing his clients assertions that he believes what the public is witnessing is retaliation against a whistleblower.

“It was so bad,” Townsend told BeaverCountian.com following the hearing.

“They with intent didn’t even call the purported victim in the case. This is just such a disingenuous use of our judicial system.”

In a motion still pending before the court, Townsend is asking a common pleas judge to dispose of the remaining corruption of a minor charge from Dec. 4, saying the case can not stand as a matter of law when the underlying offenses have all been dismissed. Townsend also has a motion pending to suppress the recorded conversation between Perciavalle and Couch, alleging county detectives overstepped the authority of their search warrant when going through Perciavalle’s phone.

A hearing on the motions was set to take place next week, but is now expected to be postponed due to scheduling conflicts with attorneys in the case.

Perciavalle has been suspended with pay from the Aliquippa Police Department since charges were first filed against him last June.

See Also:

Investigative Report: Aliquippa Officer Claims DA Lozier’s Office Retaliated After He Provided Evidence Of Corruption

YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO SEE THIS! Internal Attorney General’s Office Email Talks Of Investigations Into Aliquippa

John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

13
Reader Comments

avatar
Photo and Image Files
 
 
 
Audio and Video Files
 
 
 
Other File Types
 
 
 
7 Comment threads
6 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
6 Comment authors
equalizer13RavenLooking for justiceTruthfulricimer Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest top voted
Notify of
Glenn
Guest
Glenn

We have a county DA for a reason. He is familiar with our community. The State AG’s office is much more political, especially as Shapiro’s run for Governor approaches. Take this one back in-house, please.

equalizer13
Member
equalizer13

If aliens abducted Stonewall Loser who would know? Only the super dicks that are scarfing up the OT under his compliance. F-ck the taxpayers. His track record on solving real crimes is abysmal. Hence the name Loser! He’s probably the only DA that would lose a case to the proverbial ham sandwich.

ricimer
Guest
ricimer

With Tony Guy and Lozier and friends in office no one in Beaver County is safe from malicious prosecution. Beaver County PA. welcome to the twilight zone.

equalizer13
Member
equalizer13

Two crooked lying peas in a pod. No integrity, ethics to working knowledge of their jobs per state code. Especially the dog worshipper. That’s the only one that respects his midget ass. He doesn’t know any better. Kris’s is going to mop the floor with his RICO ass. Same for Stonewall, he’s going to back to chasing ambulances and title search’s. Get rid of Sleeper and Conehead this fall too. Operation “Clean out the County Outhouse”, coming this fall.

equalizer13
Member
equalizer13

Don’t forget to toss out our useless teats on a boar hog controller. Only thing he controls is his real estate schemes. Send the 10th grader packing with him too.

Raven
Member
Raven

Nice picture. All the guy needs is a Tommy Gun and a fedora. This whole thing would make Elliot Ness want to revive his Untouchables.

Raven
Member
Raven

Maybe it’s time to treat the whole MonacaQuip crime show run amok thing for what it appears to be — Western Pennsylvania’s own Little Sicily running on Al Capone’s business model among Facebook friends and family. Wannabe Gangstas whacking their own, cheap politicians stuffed in their pockets, self-made men and boys talking wise guy lingo. When you can’t tell the cops from the robbers, it’s time to call in The Equalizer, the Punisher, Bruce Willis and anyone else who knows how to deal with the bad guys in River City.

Truthful
Guest
Truthful

I have a crazy idea ….
How about hiring/electing people based on their qualifications for a change?

Forget about the D. Or. R …..assess their experience and abilities.

equalizer13
Member
equalizer13

Forget about voting for people just because they’re in your ethnic group. That’s dumb as hell!