A Pennsylvania constable from Shamokin is charged with ethics violations and bribery when working as a private security guard on Sunoco Pipeline's Mariner East project in Chester County.
Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan charged Michael Robel, 58, of Shamokin, with three felonies: two counts of an ethics violation and one count of bribery; and one misdemeanor ethics violation. Hogan also charged Kareem Johnson, 47, of Coatesville, with the same offenses, plus a misdemeanor count of official oppression.
The charges were filed in the West Whitefield Township office of District Judge John R. Bailey on Thursday. Robel is free of $25,000 unsecured bail.
During the office's investigation into the Mariner East pipeline, prosecutors say they found the two men had been hired to do private security work at the pipeline.
Sinkholes on the lawns of homes in Chester County along the pipeline have sparked alarm from residents and prompted county and state prosecutors to investigate.
Charles Gaza, of the district attorney's office, says the state "can't have elected law enforcement officials hiring themselves out and using their public positions for personal profit."
During 2018 and 2019, Robel made $27,995 by working for the pipeline's contracted security firm Raven Knights in Chester County, while Johnson made $36,785 for the same work in 2018 but did not report the income on a statement of financial interests, as required by a state ethics law, Hogan told NPR.
Robel is accused of telling a plain-clothes detective not to park on a part of Lisa Drive where Sunoco was working. Robel was wearing a firearm and displayed a state constable badge, according to an NPR report.
Robel was arraigned in front of Bailey on Thursday. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. Aug. 29 in front of the judge.
Robel is represented by attorney Perry Paul De Marco Jr., of Philadelphia.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.