Friday, April 18, 2008
By Liza Matia Staff Writer
Charges have been filed against a local 5th District U.S. Congressional candidate five days before Election Day. Thirty-two-year-old Derek Walker, a financial planner from Bigler, is facing felony charges of burglary and criminal trespass and misdemeanors of disorderly conduct, criminal attempt-invasion of privacy and invasion of privacy resulting from an August incident involving an ex-girlfriend.
In a statement issued by his campaign, the church deacon and Eagle Scout called the incident "politics at its worst." He said he never had a conversation or was questioned by the district attorney or any representative from his office.
"These charges are false. The entire matter is politically motivated. Any thinking citizen in our area understands that charges of this nature brought five days before an election are clearly motivated by politics," Mr. Walker said in his statement.
Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. disagreed with Mr. Walker's statement.
"Politics have no place in criminal court," he said. "We're prepared to take this case to a jury and litigate the facts in a courtroom."
According to the police complaint, Mr. Walker's ex-girlfriend called officers on Aug. 25 to report a disturbance that occurred at her apartment. The woman told police that she and a long-time male companion had entered her apartment around 2 a.m. after meeting at a local bar. The door was left open due to the warm weather.
The woman reported that the two became intimate and several minutes later, they heard Mr. Walker state, "This video is going to put an end to your job with the school district."
The complaint alleges that the pair saw Mr. Walker holding a cell phone in his hand and both were under the impression that he had videotaped them.
Police report in the statement that Mr. Walker was advised not to have further contact with the woman. Mr. Walker admitted to police that he had been at the apartment because he wanted to "smooth things over" with the woman. He admitted to seeing his ex-girlfriend on the sofa with the man and commented, "The school district will be disappointed in this."
Police advised Mr. Walker not to have further contact with the woman because charges were pending.
In October, the woman reported receiving six text messages from Mr. Walker on her cell phone. Mr. Walker also initiated a conversation with the ex-girlfriend at a Clearfield establishment.
Mr. Shaw told The Progress that the investigation into the allegations concluded on Wednesday and that it was only a coincidence that it occurred so close to the primary election. Mr. Shaw believed it was inappropriate to comment on how this could affect Mr. Walker's campaign or what sentence he could face, but said "politics have no bearing on criminal court."
The ex-girlfriend has also issued a statement in which she expresses her support for Mr. Walker and denies the rumors. She said that she and Mr. Walker dated for seven years and their breakup was "very difficult and emotional." She said she believes the rumors that are being circulated are being used "for political gain."
"My family and I wish Derek the best on Election Day," she wrote. "Anyone who would spread such blatantly false rumors five days before an election is clearly politically motivated. Not only should they immediately stop spreading these rumors, but they should step forward and offer Derek Walker and me a public apology."