WILKES-BARRE — “It’s nice to win one.”
With a criminal theft trial pending and government liens mounting, those were the words of Leo A. Glodzik III’s attorney, Joseph Sklarosky Sr., to reporters as he and the suspended city towing contractor left Luzerne County Court on Thursday afternoon after successfully challenging a Nanticoke woman’s request for a protection-from-abuse order.
“This is yet another example of the PFA statute being abused,” Sklarosky said of Aleksandra O’Donohue’s failed attempt to secure a restraining order against Glodzik. The woman alleged Glodzik battered her at his Morgan Drive home last month, leaving her so badly injured that she was later hospitalized for three days.
“I was so scared,” said O’Donohue, who said Glodzik dragged her around by the hair and beat her in the head until she lost consciousness the night of April 17. “He was dragging me across the floor.”
There seemed to be no dispute in court that O’Donohue ended up in a hospital bed the following day with bruises on many parts of her body. The question was who caused those injuries.
After more than two hours of testimony, including appearances by two Wilkes-Barre police officers who responded to Glodzik’s home, Luzerne County President Judge Thomas F. Burke Jr. ruled against O’Donohue at the end of a PFA hearing, citing a “lack of corroborating evidence, a lack of credible evidence that the defendant, Mr. Glodzik caused these injuries.”
Burke, who originally issued a temporary PFA order in favor of O’Donohue two weeks ago, said the evidence presented Thursday did not convince him a one-year order was justified.
“It is incomprehensible that two veteran Wilkes-Barre policemen would go to Mr. Glodzik’s house and not recognize an individual having been allegedly assaulted and beaten in the manner described in the PFA petition,” Burke said.
The history behind O’Donohue’s unsuccessful PFA request was soaked in a tale of drinking, swearing, anger and violence alleged by both parties, but it was O’Donohue who ultimately ended up in a police cell and a hospital bed.
O’Donohue, 25, and Glodzik, 43, were friends for more than two years and occasional intimate partners, it emerged during testimony. Both had apparently moved on to other people by the night of April 17, when Glodzik agreed to give O’Donohue a ride back to his home from a bar.
Both parties described a night that began with Glodzik agreeing to pick up O’Donohue from the River Grille in Plains Township after she had been drinking. Glodzik said it was not unusual for him, as a towing company owner, to give friends rides home.
Glodzik, who said he drank only a few mouthfuls of warm beer after there were no frosted mugs available, testified he ordered some food to go and drove O’Donohue to his home, where she intended to get a ride back to Nanticoke from a friend.
O’Donohue admitted she went to Glodzik’s house to discuss a possible reconciliation. Sklarosky maintained she got mad when Glodzik rebuffed her request to get back together.
“Leo said that’s not going to happen. You got upset about that, didn’t you?” Sklarosky said.
O’Donohue maintained the attack happened suddenly, while she was in the bathroom. She said that then Glodzik called a police officer friend, Jason Anthony, and soon police were at the home.
“They weren’t listening to me. Next thing I know, I was getting arrested,” O’Donohue said.
Glodzik insisted, under questioning by O’Donohue’s attorney, Andrew Katsock, that he did not bring her home with the intention of having sex that night.
The towing company owner said O’Donohue had been texting him since January with suggestions of getting back together, something he said he rejected because he was “laying low,” adding that they had not been “boyfriend-girlfriend.”
Katsock accused Glodzik of being inconsistent, saying in court that O’Donohue had been a friend while telling police she was an ex-girlfriend.
“Did you love her?” Katsock asked.
“Uh, no,” Glodzik said, then quickly added: “Well, yeah. Maybe I did. We were good friends.”
Katsock suggested Glodzik was jealous that O’Donohue was going out with someone else, and that when she called him for a ride home from the River Grille that evening, their discussion at Glodzik’s home soon turned heated.
Glodzik insisted he never touched O’Donohue, even after she damaged “knickknacks” in his home and injured him by ripping an ornamental deer skull from the bathroom wall and swinging it at Glodzik, cutting him on the arm with its antler.
Sklarosky asked O’Donohue if she was, in fact, beaten up by another man the next day, noting that she didn’t go to the hospital until the following afternoon, well after getting out of the police station after her arrest. She denied that another man was responsible for her injuries.
“I got beat up and then I got arrested,” O’Donohue said, sobbing.
Glodzik said he called police because he just wanted O’Donohue out of his house.
Police who responded to a call from Glodzik cited O’Donohue for one count each of public drunkenness and disorderly conduct after she allegedly refused to be quiet, tore at shrubbery and spat at an officer outside Glodzik’s home while waiting for a cab police had called to take her back to Nanticoke.
Two officers who testified Thursday, Sgt. Charles Casey and Patrolman Alan Gribble, both said there was no evidence of serious injuries, only leg bruises. When asked about them, both said O’Donohue responded that Glodzik hadn’t caused the bruises, mentioned another man’s name and refused to say any more.
“I had no idea who that was. She wouldn’t give me any more information,” Casey said.
Casey and Gribble testified O’Donohue told them it was “none of your (expletive) business,” and that “your boy Leo didn’t do this to me.”
Katsock asked the police whether they pursued the injury further or considered taking O’Donohue to the hospital instead of to jail.
“She didn’t ask to go to the hospital,” Casey said.
“You didn’t deem it appropriate to take her to the hospital?” Katsock asked.
“For a bruise? No,” Casey replied.
Glodzik and Sklarosky also downplayed questions about how Glodzik summoned the police. He said he did not call 911, but tried the station directly.
Finding the line busy, he called Anthony. That officer said he wasn’t available, and referred Glodzik to Gribble, who was in the area. Gribble and Casey then went to Glodzik’s home.
Glodzik testified that as a tow-operator, he has the personal cellphone numbers for many police officers, from Hazleton to to Scranton.
Glodzik told reporters he was pleased with the ruling as he left court.
O’Donohue, who broke down in tears during her testimony, darted around the courthouse basement trying to avoid news photographers later.
Glodzik, meanwhile, is expected to return to court soon in another matter.
Sklarosky also is representing Glodzik in a criminal theft case, which is scheduled to go to trial next week.
In May 2013, Glodzik was charged with two counts of theft after investigation into allegations that he stole $2,100 from a vehicle he towed that was part of a drug arrest in January 2013.
Sklarosky on Wednesday afternoon filed documents seeking an out-of-county jury in that case, arguing that “complete saturation of the Luzerne County community” with news reports on Glodzik’s various legal troubles would hamper efforts to assemble an unbiased local jury.