The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

July 17, 2014

Judge clears Buhl Rec Center in slander suit

SHARON — A judge has cleared the Buhl Community Recreation Center of a slander lawsuit filed by a club member.

The case is still pending against a Sharon police officer also named in the suit.

Joseph Vance, 1314 Roemer Blvd., Farrell, filed slander and assault charges against Sharon Police Capt. Travis Martwinski and slander charges against the Sharon club and John Quirke.

In the suit filed Jan. 23, 2013, in Mercer County Common Pleas Court, Vance said he was working out at the club at 28 N. Pine Ave. on Nov. 8, 2012, when a young man asked him about the proper use of a piece of equipment.

Later, while Vance was showering, Martwinski “stormed” into the shower area and “addressed” the conversation with the young man, the suit said.

Martwinski accused Vance of having sexual encounters with boys, including the boy who had asked about the equipment, the suit said.

Martwinski threatened to beat up Vance if he did not leave the club, the suit said.

Martwinski spoke with Quirke, the night supervisor, and Quirke accused Vance of acting inappropriately with boys and then threw him out of the club, the suit said.

The defendants denied the allegations.

Vance and a witness gave depositions Dec. 11 and Vance’s law firm, Steele Schneider of Pittsburgh, came to the conclusion that it “no longer believe(s) that (Vance) should pursue this case,” the firm said in a motion to withdraw its appearance.

Steele Schneider officially stopped representing Vance in March.

In May, the club and Quirke filed a motion for summary judgment, asking that a judge rule on the information developed so far and the applicable law.

“During his deposition, (Vance) conceded that neither Mr. Martwinski nor Mr. Quirke accused him of having illicit sexual relations with young males or of being a pedophile,” according to the motion.

Judge Robert G. Yeatts granted the motion and dismissed Vance’s complaint, so far as the club and Quirke are concerned, in an order filed July 7.

Club Executive Director Tony Rogers on Wednesday declined to comment, saying he had not verified the judge’s action with his attorney.

Vance, reached at home, did not comment or say he would not comment.

Martwinski also has filed a motion for summary judgment and a hearing has been set for Aug. 4, said his attorney, David A. Ristvey.

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