WILKES-BARRE — This time, the proceeding was more civil, with just a few verbal taunts.
Christine Cromer, 37, of Plains Township, returned to court Friday for the continuation of her preliminary hearing on charges she falsely accused two state troopers of raping her outside the Mohegan Sun Pocono casino in November 2016.
In the end, a judge sent the case to Luzerne County Court for trial.
The last time Cromer came before District Judge Thomas Malloy Sr. was at a combative preliminary hearing Feb. 2. It ended abruptly when Cromer’s attorney, Joseph Sklarosky Sr., said he felt he was being unfairly treated and requested Malloy recuse himself.
But Malloy presided over Friday’s hearing with no objection from Sklarosky.
Cromer was charged last fall with filing a false report after investigators say she falsely accused Trooper Robert Covington of raping her in a police cruiser in November 2016. Luzerne County Det. Chaz Balogh later charged Cromer with providing false information on a protection-from-abuse application when she said she was raped by another state trooper.
Friday’s hearing combined the two sets of charges.
Cromer was a waitress at the casino where Covington was assigned with the Bureau of Gaming Enforcement.
Sklarosky suggested state police and Balogh did not thoroughly investigate because they did not search the cruiser for evidence. Cromer claimed she was raped inside a brown cruiser that had a bench style front seat with no police radio.
“They’ve done a lousy, shoddy investigation and they should be ashamed at the investigation they did,” Sklarosky said.
‘Looking forward to it’
Corporal Rebecca Warner and Balogh said they did not need to search the cruiser thoroughly because Cromer’s statements were “inconsistent.” Balogh said he did inspect the cruiser, including taking pictures.
Balogh said the cruiser had bucket seats and a large police radio between the seats.
“She said the state police must have done something to the cruiser,” Balogh testified. “They must have changed the inside of that vehicle.
“To me, with how she said he was lying on top of her, it would be impossible,” Balogh said.
Balogh said Cromer’s application for a restraining order she submitted in November claimed she was raped by “Sgt. Jones.” Balogh said she did not list Jones’ first name in the application.
But the Jones that Cromer referred to was state police Sgt. Daniel Jones, who questioned her about the rape allegations she levied against Covington.
Balogh said Jones was never assigned to the casino.
Assistant District Attorney Angela Sperrazza objected to several questions posed by Sklarosky, who wanted to know if Warner and Balogh interviewed other casino employees. When Judge Malloy prevented Sklarosky from inquiring about any interviews with casino employees, Skarlosky said he will ask at trial.
“I will be asking these questions in court,” Sklarosky said to Balogh at the end of Friday’s proceeding.
“Looking forward to it,” Balogh shot back.
Malloy determined Sperrazza established a case against Cromer, sending two counts of false reports and a single count of unsworn falsification to county court.
Cromer remains jailed at the county lockup without bail on an unrelated drug trafficking charge, alleging she and her husband, Donald Cromer, 43, sold methamphetamine in Plains Township in February. They were arrested April 3 at Donald’s preliminary hearing for a false imprisonment charge filed by Plains Township police.
In that case, police said Cromer reported her husband handcuffed her to a radiator inside their Maffett Street house March 6.