Rep. Thomas Caltagirone has had a checkered past aiding Republican candidates running against Democratic opposition. He recently said Gov. Corbett is doing a wonderful job. In 2007 I exposed a $500 contribution he gave to Tom Corbett’s initial run for Attorney General. Since then he’s also given campaign contributions to Republicans such as Berks County Sheriff Eric Weaknecht. He has given tot he Sheriff repeatedly including in his latest 2012 cycle 5 campaign finance report.
Maybe his greatest sin though came last month when he provided email letters sent to him by House District 126 candidate Mark Rozzi. Caltagirone gave the letters to Tea Party Republican candidate James Billman who posted them on an attack website called “The Real Mark Rozzi.” Rozzi was the Democratic candidate for the 126th State House seat and Billman the GOP candidate. Rozzi won last week with 70% of the vote to replace retiring Representative Dante Santoni Jr.
The letters were sent by Rozzi to Rep. Caltagirone regarding sexual abuse of minor children. As a victim himself of a catholic priest as a child Rozzi was seeking Caltagirone’s support for legislation which would have extended the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse and strengthen reporting laws. As Democratic Chair of the House Judiciary Committee Caltagirone killed the bills on behalf of the Church.
Following the Jerry Sandusky scandal these bills and Rep. Caltagirone’s conduct in stifling them became news. The fact that Mr. Rozzi had sent him well written pleas on behalf of those victims of molestation in support of the reforms was hardly what most of us would consider “attack” material. It tells us much about both Rep. Caltagirone and Mr. Billman that they thought so and used it at as part of Billman’s website to attack Rozzi.
So why did Tom Caltagirone give confidential communications to a Tea Party Republican against a fellow Democrat? The answer is simple: his real constituency is the Roman Catholic Church, not residents of the City of Reading or the public. His purpose in killing legislation designed to protect children from sexual molestation was to protect Catholic priests as part of the extensive efforts by the Church to conceal such conduct and protect itself from liability. As a victim of such molestation himself Mr. Rozzi campaigned on passing such reforms in Harrisburg and holding the Church accountable.
The question now is what will House Democrats do and react to this series of events? Will they continue allowing Rep. Caltagirone, second in seniority among House Dems, to keep his powerful position where he can continue to harm children? What will Berks Dems do? They have repeatedly allowed Caltagirone to keep his position as a County Committee man in spite of constantly violating their by laws about aiding Republicans running against fellow Democrats.