Resident contends W-B police chief protected drug addict
WILKES-BARRE - Brenda Meehan and her daughter have lost the last three years of their lives - and city police Chief Gerard Dessoye should take the blame, the woman said during Thursday's city council meeting.
Meehan, who lives in a double-block home on McLean Street, accused Dessoye of providing a "halo of protection" for her sister Catherine Meehan, a drug addict who previously was involved in a romantic relationship with Dessoye, Brenda said.
That connection, Brenda said, led Dessoye to protect Catherine after she moved into 252 McLean St., in September 2008 following the death of their mother. Brenda Meehan contends her sister and her boyfriend, Gary Greiss, sold heroin and pills from the home and said her teenaged daughter often had to step over used syringes on shared front and back porches.
Police reports obtained under the state's open-records law indicated there were at least three instances of suspected drug activity at the home over a three-week period in April 2011. The Citizens' Voice is still waiting for the release of reports from prior years.
From the time Catherine moved into the home until Brenda had her evicted this summer, Brenda said she lived through encounters with gang members, endured multiple threats - including a drug dealer waving a gun at her and her daughter - and a burglary at the double-block home. Her daughter could no longer play outside and will not sleep at the home, Brenda said.
"My child should have never had to forgo so much because a police chief was merely concerned more about himself than he was about protecting and serving," Brenda said.
Dessoye was not at the meeting and could not be reached for comment Thursday. Dessoye did not return multiple phone calls after Brenda first raised the allegations during an October town hall meeting.
A few days later, when asked for comment about Brenda's claims while walking on the street outside the police station, Dessoye called the allegations "nonsense" and said he would not comment. Mayor Tom Leighton did not return a phone call seeking comment Thursday evening.
Brenda said she spent about $8,000 to finally have her sister evicted this past summer and said that she's not sure where her sister is living now. Catherine does not have a phone number, Brenda said, adding she has not been in contact with her recently.
Brenda, has, though, called city hall officials and police dozens on dozens of occasions over the past three years, she said.
From June 2008 to July 2011, police were called to Catherine's side of the home 56 times, according to Luzerne County 911 records. Police were called to Brenda's side, 254 McLean St., 18 times during the same stretch, the records show.
The incidents included reports of domestic abuse, threats and three instances of overdoses.
So far in 2011, county 911 reported 35 emergency calls connected to the Meehans' double-block home. Wilkes-Barre police filed 12 incident reports in regard to those calls, three of which specifically mention allegations of drug activity.
> On April 8, police responded to an anonymous call that a man was selling drugs from Catherine's home. Later that day, Brenda played a voicemail "her sister Kathy" had left on her answering machine that indicated two men, one of them named Gary, had gone to New Jersey the day before and returned with heroin, according to police documents.
> On April 16, two people were arrested on summary warrants outside 252 McLean St. A man with the group told police that Catherine and Greiss were selling "prescription narcotics" from the home, according to a police incident report.
> On April 21, Catherine was taken to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital after Brenda found her unresponsive after a possible drug overdose, police said.
Catherine and Greiss have not been charged with any drug-related crimes over the three-year period she lived on McLean Street, according to court documents.
She has been charged at least twice by Wilkes-Barre police for violating a protection-from-abuse order Brenda had issued against her, according to court documents.
She also pleaded guilty to falsely filing a report her van was stolen in April 2009 and was sentenced to six months probation, court records show.
Catherine was charged with other, more minor offenses, such as scattering rubbish and disorderly conduct, according to court documents. But they aren't drug charges, and that's the problem, Brenda said Thursday.
Brenda asked the council members what they would do if they were in her position. Council Chairwoman Kathy Kane suggested contacting a lawyer and later said council would refer the matter to Dessoye.
"We will pass it on to the police chief," Kane said, prompting disbelief from Brenda.
"The police chief?" Brenda said. "It's about the police chief."
"He is in charge of our police department," Kane said.
The other two council members present, Mike Merritt and Rick Cronauer, offered no comment. Afterward, Brenda called the council's response a "farce."