Berks Pa. Rep. Caltagirone digs in; the people respond

Harassment allegations, settlement are both issues

SHILLINGTON, Pa. - Pennsylvania state Rep. Tom Caltagirone said he's staying put following reports of a taxpayer-funded sexual harassment settlement.

Some of the Berks County Democrat's constituents spoke out Wednesday night.

"I think he should resign. He needs to be responsible for his actions," said Pat from Kenhorst, who declined to give her last name.

One woman from Shillington agreed, invoking the current social and political climate.

"I think it's a really poor decision at this time. It seems to be the culture now, that men are being held accountable and women are coming forward," said Elena Pathac.

But it's the actions of Caltagirone, his legal counsel and top Democrats that many are questioning.

In regards to the settlement with an employee at his district office in Reading, Caltagirone said in a written statement: "I wanted my day in court but counsel implored the parties to settle because of the high cost of litigating any complaint, legitimate or not."

It was that legal response that many found concerning.

"If he has been charged with something by someone and there is no proof one way or another, I think we should look at both sides. Then let the courts decide, not just write it off, pay a check, whatever," said Dennis Lehman of Mount Penn.

"Well, if he says he didn't do it, he should have to fight his way out in court," said Rob Keffer of Shillington.

In his statement, which can be read in its entirety here, Caltagirone also mentioned the current climate in the state and beyond: "Moreover, I do not think the General Assembly can objectively police itself relative to these matters within the politically super-charged environment in which we currently live."

Caltagirone, a 40-year lawmaker, is calling for an independent agency to examine complaints in state government.

One man ultimately put his trust in Gov. Tom Wolf, who has already called on Caltagirone to resign.

"I do believe Wolf has more info than we do and if he requested the guy to step down. I think that's the right thing to do," Lehman said.

Wolf has said he didn't know about the settlement until news broke this week.

Pathac is wondering why tax dollars were allowed to be used for something like this in the first place.

"I think anybody would have assumed that would be the case in the beginning," Pathac said.

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