Monday, December 20, 2021

Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee Announces Next Steps into Investigation into Commissioner Halcovage

The Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus announced the next steps that will take place by the Judiciary Committee that is investigating sexual misconduct allegations against Schuylkill County George Halcovage.

On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, chaired by Representative Paul Schemel, a Republican from Franklin County, announced that a meeting will be held on January 11th, 2022 to launch an investigation into the matter.

“The allegations against Mr. Halcovage are serious enough to warrant further investigation,” Schemel said. “Because he is an elected official, the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts will conduct an in-depth and thorough investigation of Mr. Halcovage to determine if he is liable for impeachment.”

In November, House Resolution 99 was drafted by the Schuylkill County House delegation that included  Reps. Jerry Knowles, Joe Kerwin, and Tim Twardzik to begin the investigation and was unanimously approved 200-0.

Pennsylvania State Senator David Argall introduced similar legislation in the Senate the day prior.

The investigation is a result of an announcment made in late June of 2020, when the Schuylkill County Solicitor's office announced that the County Human Resources Department had received allegations against Commissioner Halcovage including claims of sexual harassment concerning several female County Employees.

After an investigation that took place before the announcement, it was reported that Halcovage had violated the Sexual Harassment Policy #2005-18 (Revised September 2013), the Conduct and Disciplinary Action Policy #2005-19; and the Physical and Verbal Abuse Policy #2007-02 (Revised March 2007).

A week later, on July 7th, 2020, Schuylkill County District Attorney Mike O'Pake handed over the investigation into the allegations to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office.

O'Pake's office had been requested by the Human Resources Department to determine if criminal charges were appropriate. O'Pake felt that the investigation would better be handled by the State Attorney General's office.

In early February, we learned from Attorney General Shapiro's office that the investigation ended the week prior on February 5th, 2021.

The details of their findings were not released but the office said in a statement Skook News received  that "Our office made a decision to close the case without filing charges and among our considerations was statutes of limitations. "

A month later, on Tuesday, March 16th, 2021, a lawsuit was filed in Federal Court against Commissioner Halcovage for his alleged sexual harassment of four female county employees.

Since then, Commissioner Halcovage has denied the allegations, hasn't commented, and has continued to work in the Schuylkill County Courthouse refusing to resign even after members of his own party and fellow County Commissioners have asked him to do so.