|Judge Revokes Ex-Prosecutor's House Arrest
By Laurie Mason
Bucks County Courier Times
April 7, 2009
The judge said that it was inappropriate for Anthony Cappuccio to be walking freely in Doylestown while on house arrest. He was sent to prison.
Reversing his earlier, controversial sentence, Bucks County Judge C. Theodore Fritsch Jr. on Monday revoked Anthony Cappuccio's house arrest and sent the former chief deputy district attorney to prison for six to 23 months for corrupting the morals of three teenage boys.
Although he stressed that media accounts and public outcry did not factor into his decision, Fritsch said he was dismayed to learn through the press that Cappuccio was walking freely through Doylestown last week during a break in his divorce proceedings in Family Court.
"I do not think that was appropriate," the judge said.
The judge said he also took into consideration the words of Cappuccio's soon-to-be-ex wife, who detailed in a letter the many attempts she and family members made to stop Cappuccio's criminal behavior before he was arrested.
And the judge said that testimony about the county's house arrest program, which allowed Cappuccio to leave his residence each week, not only for work and counseling sessions, but also for personal excursions, was not what he envisioned when he handed down the original sentence.
Fritsch said he reconsidered his sentence after "calm consideration and reflection."
Cappuccio was sentenced last month to three to 23 months of house arrest after pleading guilty to giving alcohol to three teenage boys, smoking marijuana with them and having a consensual sexual relationship with one of them.
The charges first came to light in September, when a Richland Township police officer found Cappuccio and a 17-year-old boy in a parked car, partially dressed.
The sentence infuriated the victims' parents and prompted a rare prosecutorial appeal, as well as allegations that Cappuccio was receiving special treatment because of his courthouse connections.
Senior Deputy Attorney General Marc Costanzo, who had called the sentence the equivalent of Cappuccio being "grounded," said he was pleased that Fritsch reconsidered.
"I think time was the key factor," Costanzo said. "The judge actually had a chance to deliberate."
Costanzo had argued that Cappuccio, because of his profession, was able to "manipulate" the court system to his advantage, and that his tearful guilty plea was "orchestrated."
He reminded the judge that Cappuccio had named his victims in open court, reneging on an agreement with the prosecution to tone down the details in court records, in an effort to spare the boys embarrassment.
Costanzo called Scott Snyder, the corrections officer in charge of overseeing Cappuccio's house arrest, to the witness stand.
Snyder testified that Cappuccio was permitted three hours a week out of his home for personal time, and had just last week been fitted with an electronic monitoring bracelet, despite being on house arrest for nearly three weeks.
"There's allegations of special treatment and all of a sudden they decide to put a monitoring device on him," Costanzo noted after the hearing.
Costanzo argued that Cappuccio was a danger to the community because, despite knowing that he was risking his career and family - as well as breaking the law - would not stop his having sex with his young lover.
"He had a sexual compunction that he just wasn't able to control," Costanzo said.
Andrea Dalessio, Cappuccio's wife's brother, called the new sentence "a miracle." Dalessio said that Cappuccio also embarrassed his sister, who was pregnant with their second child when he was arrested.
"Justice is served. He has to face the consequences. That's all we wanted. He's shown no remorse," Dalessio said.
Cappuccio, 32, who moved from Hilltown to Chalfont last week, met the youths through his work as a group leader at First United Methodist Church of Perkasie. He was not charged with any Megan's Law offenses since the sex was consensual and the boy was legally old enough to consent.
A prosecutor since 2005, Cappuccio resigned from the Bucks County District Attorney's Office the day after the investigation began. The case was turned over to the state Attorney General for prosecution to avoid a conflict of interest.
Cappuccio's attorney, Louis Busico, said he respected the judge's decision. He said Cappuccio was disappointed.
"This is just another piece in this tragic puzzle," he said.
Busico said he would discuss a possible appeal with his client.
In addition to jail time, Fritsch ordered Cappuccio to serve seven years of probation and undergo a psychological evaluation. He's forbidden to drink alcohol and be alone with persons under 18, and may have no contact with the victims or the church where he met them.
At the end of the hearing, Cappuccio was handcuffed, then escorted by deputies through a back exit of the courtroom.
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