A local priest will be going to jail for one-to-two years for molesting a then-15-year-old girl. Separate allegations against the Rev. Kevin Lonergan first surfaced in 2016 and he was removed as assistant pastor at St. Jane Frances de Chantal Church in Palmer Township. When an investigation determined the accusations were unfounded, Lonergan was restored to ministry and that's when he met the girl at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Allentown. He admitted to the assault as well as sending her sexually explicit photos and a video. Prior to his sentencing Monday, the 31-year-old Lonergan apologized for his actions, saying he was guilty of violating the girl's trust and stealing her dignity as a person.
A proposed charter school has been given a resounding thumbs down by the Bethlehem Area School Board. The board voted 8-0 Monday to reject a new $80 million charter school, however the vote does not affect the Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School's ability to continue operating in rented space on Valley Center Parkway in Hanover Township, Northampton County. Board President Michael Faccinetto said there were shortcomings in planning and financial details in the proposal.
A former Catasauqua middle school teacher has admitted to sexaully assaulting a 15-year-old boy. 43-year-old Kimberly Race taught math and science at Catasauqua Middle School when she had a sexual relationship with the boy in the summer of 2018. Race could get more than a year behind bars when she's sentenced in May. She was suspended from her job and has since resigned.
A wildfire along the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border near the Delaware Water Gap is about 80-percent contained but according to Robert Kerschner of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, they're looking for help from Mother Nature. "The fire will not be considered fully out until we receive at least a half-inch of rain," Kerschner says. Rain is in the forecast both today and tomorrow. The fire has burned an estimated 80 acres of land so far. No injuries or property damage have been reported. The cause of the fire has not been determined.
A total of 67 new websites are up and running to help educate voters about their new voting systems. Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar says the county-specific sites intend to help all voters feel confident with the system change before casting a ballot. www.votespa.com has information on how to vote by mail, as well.
State lawmakers are working on legislation to help deal with ransomware attacks. Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, who chairs the Senate Communications and Technology Committee, says they want to talk with experts to put together guidelines and, eventually, be ahead of the criminals' future attacks. Ransomware forces the victim to pay money to get back vital data that was taken hostage.
New Jersey health officials say the state is well-prepared to handle any outbreak of the coronavirus, which is responsible for more than 2600 deaths worldwide. There are 35 confirmed cases in the United States and none in New Jersey. A recent national study says New Jersey is among the best-prepared states for a public health crisis.