The court of public opinion has ruled on the case of Andy Wallace. The verdict: Not guilty by reason of political connections.
The former Lackawanna County chief of staff resigned Friday, two days after District Attorney Mark Powell confirmed that the longtime political player is under criminal investigation. Powell assured the public that Wallace, 66, of South Abington Twp., won’t receive preferential treatment due to his connections.
“As with every case referred to my office, we will follow the facts and evidence where they lead, and apply the law appropriately,” Powell said. “Until our investigation is concluded, I will have no further comment on the case.”
The public, meanwhile, has had plenty to say. Everyday people here in Our Stiff Neck of the Woods have long watched the powerful get passes on behavior that routinely lands the unconnected behind bars. The lack of news about Wallace and the radio silence from the DA have convinced some the fix is in.
“Why is the entire story and all details released on the allergist who was arrested for molesting a girl not treated the same as the story about Andy Wallace?” a reader asked in an email. I received several others wondering the same thing.
The question answers itself. The Times-Tribune reported on a Scranton-based doctor police accused of inappropriately touching a 20-year-old female college student.
Joel Jerome Laury, M.D., 52, 3 Jerry Lane, Scott Twp., is charged with misdemeanor counts of indecent assault without consent and open lewdness, as well as a summary count of harassment.
The operative word is charged. Laury has been. Wallace has not. Both are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. We here at the newspaper have heard all the rumors, too. We don’t report rumors. It’s a good way to get sued for libel. More importantly, it’s not fair.
Our understanding is that the investigation is ongoing. We are following it closely, and when we have something more than rumors to report, you will read it here first.
In the meantime, kudos to whoever it was at the Archbald Police Department who thought to create a Facebook post featuring surveillance photos of a man who appears to be Wallace. The post asked for help identifying the man “over an incident at a local store.”
Once that post went up, there was no sweeping the “incident” under the political rug. However this plays out, it will happen in public. That’s good news, anyway you read it.