LIMERICK — The private criminal complaint filed by a local parent against Spring-Ford Area School Board’s vice president has been withdrawn, per an agreement between the two sides last week.
“The opposing party felt that it was time to withdraw the case. I never anticipated, never thought I did anything wrong and that hasn’t changed,” Tom DiBello told 21st Century Media Sunday.
William Gervais filed the complaint charging summary physical harassment in connection with a game of ding-dong-ditch his daughter was involved with June 11, 2012.
Ding-dong-ditch is a prank played by a person who rings the doorbell of a home and runs away or hides before the occupant can answer.
DiBello’s door was a target in the game and, after the bell was rung, Gervais accused DiBello of coming out of his home, tracking the girl and her friend down and pulling them back to his home, one by the neck.
DiBello told The Mercury in November, shortly after the private criminal complaint was filed, that he did not grab the girl by her neck but did bring them to his house. He said there was a rash of car vandalism at the time in his neighborhood and he didn’t know who the girls were.
Gervais said he found out about the incident days after it happened.
A subsequent criminal investigation by the Limerick Police, triggered by Gervais coming forward, resulted in no criminal charges after Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Gabriel Magee felt “that this behavior would not reach the level of criminal charges at all.”
“As I’ve said before, I thought there wasn’t much behind this and this was more political than anything,” DiBello said Sunday.
Prior to November’s election, for which DiBello was seeking re-election to his Spring-Ford Region III seat, a flyer, with the headline of “Character Matters” went out. It contained a copy of Gervais’ complaint with his signature crossed out and indicated it was “Paid for by the candidate.”
The flyer urged resident to “vote for Bob Weber on Nov. 5 for school board.”
Gervais said he would be sending a letter of apology in to run in The Mercury, which was part of the agreement between him and DiBello, according to court paperwork, and that he really couldn’t say anything more.
“I don’t harbor any ill feelings toward [Gervais],” DiBello said.
The withdrawal agreement releases both sides from potential civil lawsuits, the court papers indicated.
An attempt to have the private complaint dismissed at the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Jan. 31 was denied, but Gervais agreed to withdraw the complaint around that time.
Gervais signed the agreement Feb. 5, paperwork indicated.
A summary trial before District Judge Albert Augustine scheduled for Feb. 6 was cancelled, The case was transferred to Augustine after initially being transferred from District Judge Walter Gadzicki to District Judge Edward Kropp.