Michael Paige, a Philadelphia police officer who allegedly sexually assaulted another man while on duty, has appealed an unfavorable jury verdict to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.
The appeal was filed on July 27, according to court records.
James Harris contends that Paige forced him to repeatedly perform oral sex on him at a secluded area of Fairmount Park in March 2007.
Paige denies the charges, and was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in 2008.
But in June, a federal jury ruled that Paige violated Harris’ civil rights, and awarded Harris $165,000 in monetary damages.
Paige was dismissed from the police force shortly after the alleged incident. But he was reinstated in April 2009 after an independent arbitrator reduced his discipline from dismissal to a 30-day suspension.
Harris also is seeking about $500,000 in legal fees from Paige, although Paige wants the city to indemnify him.
If Paige’s appeal is successful, he won’t have to pay any money to Harris.
Brian F. Humble, an attorney for Harris, said he expects the jury verdict to hold.
“The jury verdict was just and sound,” Humble told PGN. “It will withstand any nonsensical appeal filed by Officer Paige or his attorney. I can assure the public and Officer Paige that this matter will not go away. One way or another, Officer Paige will be held accountable for his actions.”
Brian M. Puricelli, an attorney for Paige, had no comment for this story.
Paige also is appealing a series of rulings issued by U.S. District Judge Robert F. Kelly during the course of the litigation.
Transgender complaints dismissed
Two anti-bias complaints filed by transwoman Kate Lynn Blatt, who says her former employer requested a photograph of her genitalia as a condition of employment, have been dismissed by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
At the time of the October 2007 incident, Blatt was employed by Manpower Inc., a global staffing-services agency with a branch office in Pottsville.
Manpower placed Blatt at Sapa Industrial Extrusions, a manufacturer of aluminum products in Cressona, where she earned about $10 an hour as a factory worker.
Blatt worked at Sapa for about a month before allegedly being told by a supervisor that she wasn’t physically well enough to work at the job and was no longer needed at Sapa, she said.
After being discharged from Sapa, Blatt said she personally visited Manpower’s branch office in Pottsville in an attempt to return to return to work.
But an employee there allegedly told Blatt that a letter from her surgeon documenting her gender-reassignment surgery — along with a photograph of her genital area — would be necessary before she could return to Sapa.
In May 2008, Blatt filed complaints against Manpower and Sapa with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, alleging wrongful discharge based on her sex and disability, which she said is gender dysphoria.
But in January 2012, both complaints were dismissed by the PHRC, citing insufficient evidence in support of Blatt’s allegations.
Blatt expressed mixed feelings about the dismissals.
“I’m disappointed and amazed that the commission closed my complaints due to insufficient evidence,” she said. “But I knew from the beginning that it would be an uphill battle to prevail. I’m still considering my options of pursuing the case in state or federal court.”
Last year, Manpower Inc. changed its name to ManpowerGroup.
The company issued the following statement concerning Blatt’s case.
“In regards to the Kate Blatt case, ManpowerGroup defers to the ruling by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, which determined that ‘the complaint should be dismissed because the facts of the case do not establish that probable cause exists to credit the allegations of unlawful discrimination.’ ManpowerGroup is an equal-opportunity employer.”
A spokesperson for Sapa couldn’t be reached for comment.
— Timothy Cwiek
Fox’s murderer still sought
The person who murdered a gay South Philadelphia resident remains on the loose, despite a media report detailing otherwise.
South Philly Review last week reported that Tariq Jenkins was arrested Aug. 1 for the June 22 murder of Michael J. Fox.
However, Jenkins was arrested for the June 16 shooting death of Cornelius Riggs, also in South Philadelphia.
Police Public-Affairs Officer Jillian Russell confirmed Wednesday that Fox’s killer has not yet been apprehended.
“There has been no arrest yet in that case,” Russell said.
Fox, 30, a former barback at Woody’s, was found bludgeoned to death in his apartment at 906 S. Eighth St. Police believe Fox knew his attacker, and that the incident stemmed from a robbery.
Black Madam’s hearing set
The transgender woman accused of administering a fatal silicon injection will face a hearing this fall on murder and other charges.
Padge Victoria Windslowe is next due in court Oct. 10. During a status hearing last week, Municipal Judge James DeLeon approved her bringing on defense attorney Christopher Mannix, who is representing Windslowe in another case.
Last month, the District Attorney’s Office filed third-degree murder charges against Windslowe for the February 2011 death of British tourist Claudia Aderotimi. Investigators say Windslowe, 42, illegally injected Aderotimi with silicone in the buttocks, a procedure for which she charged about $1,700. Aderotimi died hours later.
The investigation, which took more than a year-and-a-half, determined that Windslowe allegedly nicked a blood vessel, causing the silicone to leak into Aderotimi’s bloodstream and enter her lungs. The medical examiner ruled that she died of a pulmonary embolism.
Although Windslowe, a gothic hip-hop artist, was identified early on as a suspect, the murder charge could not be filed until the cause of death was determined.
Earlier this year, however, she was arrested after another woman was hospitalized after a similar procedure. That victim survived.
Windslowe remains in prison on $750,000 bail.
— Jen Colletta