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GREENSBURG (KDKA) – Westmoreland County’s chief deputy was accused of harassing a county deputy corporal and appeared in court on Tuesday.
Patricia Fritz faced a summary trial on harassment charges after allegedly using physical force and laying her hands County Deputy Cpl. Steve Felder during a heated discussion last month.
“I’m telling you this doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make sense,” defense attorney Vicki Kuftic Horne said.
The alleged incident happened inside the sheriff’s department in a meeting room.
Prosecutors argued Fritz became enraged at Felder when he tried to leave a meeting in which they were discussing union matters. Fritz allegedly pushed Felder in the chest repeatedly and invoking her rank, ordered him to not leave and sit down.
Felder allegedly refused.
“He has an obligation as you would to any superior,” Horne said.
Felder testified he eventually exited the room to talk to the county’s human resources office and acted as the “deputy’s union president,” not in the capacity of an on-duty corporal.
“Maybe it’s for political reasons, maybe it’s for personal reasons that are willing to take action and do things against women in positions that they’re not willing and would never happen against a man,” Horne said.
However, district justice Chris Flanigan ruled Fritz was guilty of summary harassment charges.
“I don’t agree with her decision. I think it’s unfortunate what’s occurring in Westmoreland County presently,” Horne said.
Fritz faces a $300 fine and her attorney plans to appeal.