Ex-Crestwood water operator pleads guilty: ‘I was following directives’
BY CASEY TONER Sun-Times Media firstname.lastname@example.org April 11, 2013 3:59PM
Updated: May 13, 2013 6:38AM
Crestwood’s former certified water operator pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges that he lied to regulators about mixing water from a tainted well with the village water supply.
“I was following directives in order to do my job,” Frank Scaccia said.
He identified the person giving the directives as “Public Official A.”
Scaccia made the plea in front of Judge Joan B. Gottschall at the U.S. District Court in Chicago days before he and Theresa Neubauer, former water department head and now on leave as Crestwood police chief, were set to go on trial. They were charged with allegedly lying to environmental regulators about the village using water from a well containing vinyl chloride — a known carinogen — to supplement its drinking water supply over more than two decades.
In light of Scaccia’s guilty plea, Neubauer’s trial has been moved to April 22. Under the plea deal, Scaccia pleads guilty to one count of knowingly and willfully engaging in a false statement scheme. The other 22 counts against him are dropped, according to the deal.
However, under the plea, Scaccia is able to appeal Gottschall’s prior ruling against the defendants’ request to dismiss the indictment for lack of federal jurisdiction.
Scaccia is also able to appeal Gottschall’s ruling against Scaccia’s request to suppress six statements he made to EPA investigators last April. Scaccia’s attorneys claimed that when he talked to investigators, he was told the information he gave them would be confidential. Scaccia also told them he wanted “whistleblower protection” for speaking to them.
Gottschall ruled that investigators never promised Scaccia any protection and kept his statements from the media and his employers, thus keeping his statements confidential.
If the U.S Court of Appeals rules in favor of Scaccia, his guilty plea is withdrawn, all 23 counts against him are reinstated his case would be slated for trial. He is next due in court for a status hearing May 15.