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Last updated: February 26. 2014 11:10PM - 4268 Views
By - elewis@timesleader.com - (570) 991-6116



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SCRANTON — Attorneys for the former president of the Wyoming Area Teachers Union are seeking a stay of her federal sentence pending information about where she is to report, after learning she could be assigned to a Texas facility even though there are suitable locations closer to Northeastern Pennsylvania.


U.S. District Judge James Munley last month sentenced Lisa Barrett, 48, of Shavertown, to a year behind bars for embezzling nearly $60,000 using union debit and credit cards to support a lifestyle of shopping, travelling and dining.


According to court documents, her lawyers learned from U.S. Marshals that Barrett has been assigned to FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, but has not received any formal notices to self-report.


“It is the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ policy to place an individual in the least restrictive facility for which she qualifies within 500 miles of a release residence,” Barrett’s lawyers argue, stating that there are less restrictive prison camps in Connecticut and West Virginia.


“The federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, is much more than 500 miles and administrative housing would be an inappropriate sentence,” according to lawyer Christopher Powell’s motion, filed Wednesday.


Powell’s motion describes says Barrett is “a white, non-violent, first time offender and does not deserve to be assigned to a federal prison some 2,000 miles away from her home and be out of touch with any visitors from this area. Such a place of incarceration would be cruel and unjust creating hardships to the Defendant because of lack of contact with family and friends.”


WILKES-BARRE — Geisinger Health System released a statement on Wednesday regarding a recent lawsuit filed in Luzerne County Court regarding the death of a 26-year-old mother of two who died of a brain hemorrhage last year.


According to the suit, Jessica Gensel, of Beach Haven, died April 1 after a blood clot went undiagnosed and was allowed to progress for four days. The suit was brought by Gensel’s mother, Alane Cragle of Beach Haven. Cragle alleges three counts of negligence and one count each of corporate negligence, wrongful death and damages under the survival act, seeking a minimum of $50,000 plus interest and costs on each count, totalling at least $300,000.


Geisinger’s statement addresses care received by Gensel, and takes exception to any comparison with the case of Dr. Jennifer Sidari, another 26-year-old woman whose family is suing Geisinger over alleged errors after she died of a blood clot on her brain on May 29.


“Without getting into the complex detail of the medical differences in the cases, Ms. Gensel had a genetic mutation blood clotting disorder — known as Factor V Leiden — that greatly increases the chances of blood clotting. Her genetic factors, and the fact that she was receiving blood thinning therapy at this time, greatly complicated the history she described to her numerous non-Geisinger and Geisinger providers, and potential treatments,” Geisinger’s statement read. “Jennifer Sidari’s case involves different issues that were treated by non-Geisinger providers for several weeks prior to sending her to Geisinger.”


The statement continued: “We will follow the legal process in both cases, but they are unrelated and have completely different factual bases,” saying they are “completely and fundamentally different and do not reflect any systemic deficiencies in the care we provided.”


NANTICOKE — A Nanticoke man accused of possessing child pornography waived his right to a preliminary hearing before District Judge Donald Whittaker on Wednesday.


Josh Gensel, 31, of East Green Street, waived four counts of child pornography, two counts of dissemination of children engaged in sex acts and a single count of criminal use of communication facility to Luzerne County Court.


State Office of Attorney General allege Gensel downloaded child pornography onto a laptop computer from November through February, according to the criminal complaint.


Gensel was released from the county prison when his bail was modified from $100,000 to $25,000 unsecured.


WILKES-BARRE — A man accused of raping a girl inside an apartment at Sherman Hills waived his right to a preliminary hearing before District Judge Martin Kane on Tuesday.


Maurice Porter, 26, of Wilkes-Barre, waived three counts each of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and indecent assault, and one count each of rape, statutory sexual assault, sexual assault and corruption of minors to Luzerne County Court.


City police withdrew three counts each of aggravated indecent assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse against Porter.


Police allege Porter and another man raped a teenage girl inside a Sherman Hills apartment on April 1 or April 2, 2013, according to the criminal complaint.


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