Archive for the ‘Pennsylvania’ Category

Hempfield Area High School, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

April 21, 2007

A Hempfield Area High School sophomore spent 12 days in juvenile detention after authorities in Westmoreland County mistakenly charged him with making a March 11 bomb threat, in part because the district had not changed its clocks to reflect daylight-saving time.

High school Principal Kathy Charlton confirmed that some of the district’s clocks were wrong because of the changeover to daylight-saving time, which was three weeks earlier this year.

“All the time stamps were screwed up. Some did (change over), some didn’t,” Charlton said. “Everyone’s system had to be set manually. There were a lot of clocks involved.”

Andrews said state police and school officials botched the investigation. The school received 35 calls early on the morning of March 11, and few were actively investigated, he said.

Webb said he learned about the bomb threat at school that Monday and was called into the guidance office.

“Mrs. Charlton asked me if I had a cell phone. I said, ‘Yeah,’ and she said, ‘What’s the number?’ I told her, and she started saying, ‘We got him. We got him.’ I was completely oblivious to what they were talking about,” he said.

In the principal’s office, administrators demanded that Webb admit to calling in the bomb threat, he said.

“I wasn’t going to admit to something I didn’t do,” he said. “Me and God know I didn’t do it.”

Webb’s parents, Linda and Budd Webb, arrived at the school and listened to the recorded bomb threat. Linda Webb told administrators it wasn’t her son.

“They kept saying that it was his voice. They didn’t even know him,” she said.

County juvenile detention officials wanted to keep Webb in custody, Andrews said. “They wanted him to have a mental health evaluation because he wouldn’t admit to making the call.”

County officials said Tuesday that Webb was in custody no longer than the law requires.

“Legally, we were OK. We didn’t step on this kid’s rights,” said Mike Sturnick, supervisor for the juvenile probation office.

Dauphin County Sheriff’s Department

December 8, 2006

“We will not tolerate any criminal activity by anybody associated with the department,” said Sheriff Jack Lotwick.