MERCER – A West Middlesex councilwoman accused of pointing a gun at Shenango Township officers in April started an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program Tuesday.
Cynthia Gilkey, 41, of 38 Haywood St., West Middlesex, was charged with terroristic threats, harassment and aggravated assault after police said she pointed a loaded weapon at officers when they arrived at her home to question her about a disturbance. The aggravated assault charge was withdrawn at the district court level.
ARD is a special pre-trial intervention program in Pennsylvania for non-violent offenders with no prior or limited record. ARD is similar to probation in that the offender is monitored by the county to make sure they are complying with the program requirements.
“Part of the reason we’re doing that is so that she can keep her job in Lawrence County with legal services,” Mercer County District Attorney Peter C. Acker said. “I think it’s important that she keeps working as an attorney.”
Acker said normally, a case such as this might not be approved for ARD.
“There’s a lot of baggage and a lot of history. It wasn’t done lightly,” Acker said. “I usually don’t make ARD decisions, my first deputy does. I made this one.”
Gilkey is a former assistant district attorney who left the office before Acker took the reins.
“After discussions with her attorney, I thought it was the appropriate solution based on the circumstances of her case,” Acker said. “If she would be convicted of the charges, she would likely lose her job.”
Gilkey’s boyfriend, Brad Reinhart, pleaded guilty to a summary charge of disorderly conduct for his part in the disturbance. He was sentenced to a $100 fine and court costs.
Shenango Township police said Gilkey had been exchanging harassing and threatening texts on April 7 with a woman she had encountered earlier in the evening at two bars in West Middlesex.
Gilkey saw the other woman sitting next to Reinhart at the West Middlesex VFW and the two women began arguing. Both women went separately to a second establishment but had no contact.
Later, however, police said the other woman received obscene and threatening text messages from a phone believed to be Reinhart’s.
Officers went to Gilkey’s home to tell her to stop sending texts to the other woman.
When officers knocked on Gilkey’s front door and identified themselves, police said an officer saw her through a small window as she pointed a gun at the door and approached the officers.
The police officers retreated from the front door and Gilkey emerged, unarmed with her hands above her head a short time later. Police recovered the weapon and found that it was loaded.
According to the criminal complaint, police entered the residence and Reinhart entered Gilkey’s living room and approached the officers. He disobeyed orders to drop to his knees and began backing away until one of the officers used a Taser to subdue him.
Gilkey was elected in 2017 to a four-year term as a borough councilwoman and is council vice president.
She is scheduled to return to ARD court in December.