locally owned since 1854

Council approves Morris as interim police chief while Mouchette faces charges

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 9/12/18

Middletown Borough Council on Sept. 4 ratified the appointment of Sgt. Dennis Morris as interim chief of the police department.

Council’s action backs up Mayor James H. Curry III’s …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Council approves Morris as interim police chief while Mouchette faces charges

Posted

Middletown Borough Council on Sept. 4 ratified the appointment of Sgt. Dennis Morris as interim chief of the police department.

Council’s action backs up Mayor James H. Curry III’s decision to appoint Morris as interim chief Aug. 21, following Curry’s decision to suspend Chief George Mouchette without pay in the wake of criminal charges being filed against him.

Mouchette is charged with aggravated indecent assault without consent, criminal attempt-rape forcible compulsion, and unlawful restraint/serious bodily injury.

The charges stem from an investigation by the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office into an alleged incident that occurred in Mouchette’s office in the police station between 9 and 10 a.m. Aug. 13.

According to court documents filed by the DA’s office, Mouchette while in uniform grabbed a woman who was in his office for professional reasons by the arm, forced her up on his desk, pulled her dress up and penetrated her with his fingers.

According to the complaint, the woman repeatedly told Mouchette “no,” and then the chief allegedly tried to insert his penis into the woman’s vagina.

The woman kept telling Mouchette “no” and “stop,” according to the complaint, but Mouchette did not stop until the woman agreed to meet with the chief outside of the police department, the complaint said.

Per its policy, the Press & Journal is not naming the alleged victim.

Mouchette was to have a Sept. 4 preliminary hearing before District Judge David Judy, but the hearing was postponed when Judy requested to be recused from the case because of Mouchette having been Middletown police chief. All criminal cases filed by Middletown police typically come before Judy.

Mouchette’s case is being transferred to District Judge Kenneth Lenker of Steelton, who is to set a new date for the preliminary hearing. Mouchette remains free after posting $25,000 bail.

A 48-year-old retired New York City police detective who lives in Derry Township, Mouchette had led the department since January 2017, when Curry appointed him interim chief after Chief John Bey resigned in December 2016.

Council by 6-1 vote appointed Mouchette to the chief position on a permanent basis in August 2017, at an annual salary of $96,000.

Morris was approved 6-1, with Council Vice President Dawn Knull dissenting. Knull during the meeting did not give a reason for her vote, and she did not respond to a request for comment from the Press & Journal.

Morris before the vote thanked council and the mayor “for supporting me and for having the confidence in me to be in charge. I do appreciate it.”

“I just want you to know that we’re going to keep moving forward and we are unified as a department,” Morris told council, the mayor, and borough residents and staff attending the Sept. 4 meeting in council chambers.