Berks

Berks Pa. Rep. Caltagirone quiet amid calls to step down

READING, Pa. - A day after being called on to resign by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Berks County state Rep. Tom Caltagirone was nowhere to be found.

WFMZ's Jim Vasil went to the lawmaker's district office in downtown Reading, where the lights were on but the door was locked Wednesday morning.

No one responded to knocks on the door or calls on the phone for a comment on the calls for Caltagirone to step down from the job he's held for the last 40 years.

Those calls to resign followed published reports Tuesday afternoon that House Democrats spent nearly a quarter-million dollars in taxpayer money to secretly settle a sexual harassment complaint against Caltagirone.

"Verbal and physical harassment is flat-out wrong, whether towards an employee or any other person," Wolf said in a statement released by his office Tuesday evening. "Rep. Caltagirone should resign."

Fellow state Rep. Mike Schlossberg, a Lehigh County Democrat, was the first to call for Caltagirone to leave office.

"The behavior of the accused is abhorrent," he said "I say this, not as a father or husband, but as a human being, one who believes in decency and who respects the rights of individuals to be safe and secure in who they are and where they work."

Reading Mayor Wally Scott, a Democrat whose city has been represented by Caltagirone for the last 40 years, declined to comment on the matter, according to a spokeswoman for his office.

The $248,000 payment went to settle a complaint in 2015 against Caltagirone by a legislative staffer who worked for about a decade in his Reading office, according to a report published Tuesday afternoon by The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The papers cited a document prepared by the state's Bureau of Risk and Insurance Management that said House Democrats authorized paying $165,500 to the unidentified woman and $82,500 to her lawyer.

The woman and her lawyer declined comment.

"This type of revelation highlights why we need to change the culture of behavior in not only the General Assembly – but society at large," said state Sen. Judy Schwank, a fellow Berks County Democrat. "Harassment of any kind is unacceptable from anyone but is even more egregious when the accused are elected officials and settlements are paid with taxpayer monies."

The year after the settlement, Caltagirone won reelection to his 21st two-year term in Harrisburg, where he currently serves as Democratic chairman of the House Consumer Affairs Committee.

The papers said it was unclear whether Caltagirone was disciplined or reprimanded after the payout.

A spokesman for the 75-year-old Caltagirone told 69 News on Tuesday that the lawmaker's office can't comment on the settlement report, referring all questions to the House of Representatives' Democratic leadership.

69 News reached out to state Rep. Frank Dermody, the House Democratic leader, for comment, but has not heard back.

The newspapers' report comes days after the Inquirer published a story about state Sen. Daylin Leach allegations against him of inappropriate conduct toward women.

Leach, who represents Delaware and Montgomery counties, has denied that he ever inappropriately touched women and blamed the allegations on an unnamed political opponent.

Leach announced Monday that he has stepped back from his bid for Congress in Pennsylvania's 7th District, which includes parts of Berks County.


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