Ex-cop accused of using Pa. records for personal use headed to trial on refiled charges
LEWISBURG — A former Williamsport police officer is headed to trial on charges he used the state JNET records system to obtain information on women for personal reasons.
Specially assigned Union County District Judge Jeffrey Rowe found Thursday that the state attorney general’s office had presented sufficient evidence to hold for trial the 28 counts a different judge had dismissed.
The new felony counts filed under a different section of the same computer law accuse former Cpl. Eric B Derr, 36, of intentionally and without authorization accessing the record systems.
The dismissed charges alleged he intended to do so under false pretenses.
Defense attorney Robert A. Hoffa argued for dismissal claiming there was no evidence of criminal intent.
Williamsport police Capt. Jason Bolt produced a spread sheet he said showed Derr between June 2015 and Dec. 11, 2019, used JNET 94 times to obtain unauthorized information about 26 individuals including one female 18 times.
JNET system is for authorized police work and personal use is prohibited by law, Bolt said.
Billie Strickler testified while on vacation in North Carolina in 2015 she witnessed Derr use his phone to pull up an old driver’s license of her aunt.
Agent David Schicchitano of the attorney general’s staff related his interview with Logan Chetaitis, a former Williamsport police intern, now an officer in York County.
The investigator said Chetaitis told him once when he rode with Derr the officer ran information on three or four women and asked him after displaying their pictures if he thought “they were hot.”
Previously held for court were misdemeanor counts of unsworn falsification to authorities, tampering with public records and obstructing the administration of law.
A female at the earlier hearing testified during a 2¢-year consensual relationship Derr ran her name on the records system and that despite knowing she did not have a valid driver’s license never charged her.
They met when a male friend of hers was arrested in a drug case, she said.
Derr, who remains free on $10,000 unsecured bail, resigned from the force Sept. 24. He had been suspended with pay June 14.
The date and location of the trial is unknown because all Lycoming County judges have recused themselves.