The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

November 13, 2013

Ex-teacher admits corrupting student

MERCER COUNTY — A former West Middlesex High School teacher pleaded guilty recently to corruption of a minor for a relationship that a student called “more then a friendship.”

Robert A. Palko Jr., 38, of Hubbard, entered a guilty plea Nov. 5 to the least serious charge he faced, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Charges of criminal use of a cellular telephone, unlawful contact with a minor, child pornography and sexual abuse of a child, all felonies, were withdrawn by the prosecution.

“We are satisfied with the result of this case,” said Assistant Mercer County District Attorney Daniel Davis. “The victim was happy with the plea, preferring not to testify in this case.”

Corruption is a first-degree misdemeanor, with a maximum prison sentence of 2è to 5 years.

The victim, a 15-year-old girl, testified at Palko’s preliminary hearing in April that she did not have any classes with Palko, a former Shenango Township supervisor, but joined the art club, and would go to his room during study hall.

Palko was an art teacher who resigned in January.

Palko and the girl also texted, the subjects including problems in her personal life, and she would go on art club field trips with him, she said.

The girl, who was 14 when she first met Palko, sent him a nude photograph of herself, and he would rub her stomach over and under her clothes, she said.

School officials were alerted when another student looked at the girl’s phone as the girl was checking for a return of a text message she had sent to Palko, and the student saw the naked photo the girl had sent him, the girl said.

The student asked what the photo was and the victim told her it was a photo for Palko, the victim said.

Palko remains free on bond.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • News briefs from April 19, 2014

    April 19, 2014

  • Man admits having child porn

    A Mercer man accused of soliciting and downloading photographs of nude teenage girls pleaded guilty April 8 to sexual abuse of children for possessing child pornography.

    April 19, 2014

  • Police getting new tool to fight crime

    Sharon police working at crime scenes will be putting a powerful new investigative tool to work as soon as next month.

    April 19, 2014

  • Soap box derby finds new home

    The Greater Pennsylvania Super Kids soap box derby for special-needs kids is moving to Sharpsville.

    April 19, 2014

  • News briefs from April 18, 2014

    ‘Nonspecific threat’ prompts evacuation

    Supreme Court refuses to hear couple’s appeal

    Lung Association offering free radon test kits

    April 18, 2014

  • Man admits to choking; rape case is dropped

    A Greenville man on Thursday pleaded down a rape case to simple assault and continued to deny that he committed any sexual crimes.

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge issues tabletop ads injunction against couple

    A judge recently handed down an injunction prohibiting a Sharon man, his wife and two companies associated with the wife from working in the tabletop advertising business within 100 miles of Sharon.

    April 18, 2014

  • Tech waste eyed for new contact

    The current Hermitage solid waste contract was designed to increase recycling while reducing the amount of garbage placed at the curb, and it has lived up to its promise.

    April 18, 2014

  • WaterFire Rekindled

    WaterFire Sharon has chosen themes for its festivals to be held on three Saturdays in downtown Sharon. “Elements” will be the theme July 19, “Origins” for Aug. 23 and “Motion” for the Sept. 27 celebration.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from April 17, 2014

    Man arrested for running from accident scene

    UPMC, Southwest eyeing security at hospital

    Crashes cause diversion of Interstate 80 traffic

    Court supports prison term in chase case

    Woman gets 5-10 years in crash that killed officer

    April 17, 2014

  • Officials pledge support to sewer project

    Publicly declaring their intention to donate county land to the Upper Neshannock Watershed Authority, Commissioners Matt McConnell and John Lechner said there’s no need for Commissioner Brian Beader to worry about the loss of the sewer project at the Interstate 80/Route 19 interchange.

    April 17, 2014

  • Griswold Avenue fire Neighbors tried to save victim

    As flames and thick smoke poured out of a Sharon house Tuesday evening, neighbors rallied to try and save the man who lived there alone.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman nabbed, sister sought in assault

    Southwest Mercer County Regional police have arrested a Hermitage woman for breaking into a home in Farrell and beating a woman and are seeking the alleged assailant’s sister.

    April 16, 2014

  • Despite good deeds, man going back to prison

    Linda K. Kretzer had nothing but praise for Raymond C. McKelvey.

    April 16, 2014

  • 15-year-old legal battle returning to county court

    State Supreme Court has let stand a Superior Court decision sending a landmark medical malpractice case back to Mercer County Common Pleas Court.

    April 16, 2014