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Derek Walker charged with felonies

April 18, 2008
By GENARO C. ARMAS — Associated Press Writer
CLEARFIELD — Five days before the Pennsylvania primary, a U.S. House candidate who has touted his Eagle Scout background in TV ads was charged with felony burglary and criminal trespass stemming from an encounter last year with an ex-girlfriend.

Derek Walker, a 32-year-old financial planner, said in a statement released by his campaign that the charges are politically motivated, an accusation the district attorney denied. He is one of nine candidates seeking the GOP nomination in a race to fill an open seat in a sprawling north-central Pennsyl-vania district. Three Democrats are also running.

Authorities said the charges, in a summons to be mailed Thursday, were the result of an early-morning confrontation Aug. 25, 2007, with his former girlfriend at her apartment in Clearfield.

According to a police complaint, Walker showed up at the apartment after the woman, who had left the door open because it was warm, had returned there with a longtime male friend she met at a bar.

The two heard Walker say, ‘‘This video is going to put an end to your job with the school district,’’ and saw Walker with a cell phone in his hand, the complaint said. He left after making the comment.

‘‘The impression of both victims was that Walker had videotaped them,’’ police said.

Walker, of Bigler, was also charged with disorderly conduct, stalking, criminal attempt-invasion of privacy and invasion of privacy, all misdemeanors.

Police said Walker had told them he had knocked and had been in the apartment to ‘‘smooth things over.’’

Walker’s campaign released a written statement Thursday in response to the charges.

‘‘These charges are false,’’ Walker said. ‘‘The entire matter is politically motivated — any thinking citizen in our area understands that charges of this nature brought five days before an election are clearly motivated by politics.’’

Clearfield County District Attorney William Shaw Jr. said the investigation had just concluded on Wednesday. ‘‘This investigation has been going on since August of last year, well before there was any mention of politics, which have nothing to do with the facts of this case,’’ he told The Associated Press.

The campaign also released a statement attributed to the ex-girlfriend in which she was quoted as saying the charges were false and politically motivated and that she wished Walker luck in the election. An attempt to confirm the statement was unsuccessful. A phone number identified by police as belonging to the ex-girlfriend was answered by a woman who said it was the wrong number.

Walker, who lent his campaign $265,000, is one of three candidates who have spent the most in the race to replace retiring six-term Rep. John Peterson.

Walker and fellow GOP candidate Matt Shaner, who lent his campaign $1.2 million, have flooded the air waves with ads attacking each other.

Shaner, a real estate executive from Centre County, was fined more than $500 after pleading guilty to running a stop sign and failing to report an accident in a single-vehicle crash on Jan. 19, 2007 in Patton Township. No one was hurt.

Asked if he thought he was drunk at the time he ran off the road, Shaner told the AP in January: ‘‘I had too much alcohol to be driving. I may have been.’’

‘‘I was in a condition where I shouldn’t have been driving my car, and I handled the situation very poorly afterward,’’ he said. ‘‘It was probably the biggest mistake of my life.’’

Article Photos

Derek Walker

 
 

 

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