Former Assistant Bucks DA Sentenced in Sex Case

By Robert H. Orenstein
The Morning Call
March 11, 2009,0,4342627.story

For Stephanie Matsinger Dockery, Anthony Cappuccio was someone she and others at First United Methodist Church in Perkasie could trust.

He was a church member, leader of the Youth Fellowship group and a deputy assistant district attorney in Bucks County.

If you can't trust a God-loving, church-going assistant district attorney, she said in county court, ''Who can you trust?''

Not Cappuccio, Dockery, now the church's assistant senior youth director, and others discovered.

Cappuccio, 32, of Hilltown, pleaded guilty to giving three teenage boys alcohol and marijuana and having a sexual relationship with one of them -- all of whom he met as a church youth group chaperone.

However, he will not spend any time in jail.

Judge C. Theodore Fritsch Jr. sentenced Cappuccio to serve three to 23 months of house arrest and seven years probation. He must also complete 200 hours of community service and undergo counseling.

Under guidelines, Fritsch said, he could have sentenced Cappuccio to probation or up to 18 months in jail.

Fritsch said he decided on house arrest after considering all factors -- including the victims and information from Cappuccio and his supporters who expressed concern for his safety in jail.

Defense attorney Louis Busico, who asked that Cappuccio not serve time in jail, was satisfied.

But E. Marc Costanzo, who prosecuted the case for the state attorney general's office, argued Cappuccio's crimes required a prison term. He said families from the church expected Cappuccio to be jailed.

''I thought there would be some real period of actual incarceration, that he would not serve time in the comfort of his home,'' Costanzo said afterward.

Costanzo said the families were not pleased with the decision; they declined to comment after the two-hour hearing. The three boys were not in court, he said.

Before being sentenced, Cappuccio spoke for nearly 10 minutes and apologized, often stopping to compose himself when he cried.

''No words can express the deep regret ... for hurting so many people who trusted me ... and looked up to me. As much as I wish I could take this back, I know I can't. To all those I hurt, I'm sorry,'' he said. ''I will regret this for the rest of my life.''

He pleaded guilty to three counts each of endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors, giving alcohol to minors and one count of criminal use of a telephone and a computer.

Cappuccio, hired as an assistant district attorney in 2002 and later promoted to chief deputy, was described in court as dedicated and talented and who prosecuted drunk-driving cases -- an irony Costanzo highlighted.

Cappuccio resigned Sept. 6, 2008, the day after Richland Township police found him and a 17-year-old boy partially clothed in the front seat of Cappuccio's car in a Route 309 parking lot.

State investigators learned Cappuccio had a sexual relationship with the boy that began in the spring and involved sex once a week over three months. Costanzo said Cappuccio's wife was pregnant with their second child at the time, and the couple has since separated.

Cappuccio took that boy and at least two others to several rock concerts in 2007 and 2008, where he bought them alcohol and smoked marijuana with them. He confessed Oct. 17, 2008, and was arrested Oct. 30.



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