With less than a week to go before the Pennsylvania primary, a candidate for the 5th Congressional District has been charged with felony burglary and criminal trespass after an alleged incident involving an ex-girlfriend.
Derek Walker was charged yesterday with felony burglary and criminal trespass charges, as well as misdemeanor disorderly conduct, stalking and four counts of invasion of privacy, according to court documents.
The charges stem from an encounter between Walker and his ex-girlfriend last August. According to the criminal complaint, Walker entered his ex-girlfriend's apartment two months after they broke up and found her "becoming intimate" with a male companion. Walker then told his ex-girlfriend he was taking a video with his cell phone and said, "This video is going to put an end to your job with the school district," according to the complaint.
After being told by Clearfield police not to contact the woman, Walker texted her during a Penn State football game in October, writing, "Wow, that move takes balls, how did you end up with my tickets?" according to the criminal complaint. Another encounter occurred between Walker and the woman at the Sons of Italy Club in Clearfield, according to the complaint.
Walker flatly denied the charges in a statement yesterday, writing he believes the matter is politically motivated.
"I am confident that the residents of our region will see this entire matter for what it is -- politics at its worst," he wrote. "Any thinking citizen in our area understands that charges of this nature brought five days before an election are clearly motivated by politics."
Walker, along with State College businessman Matt Shaner, is considered a front-runner for the seat left vacant by retiring Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa. Shaner could not be reached for comment by press time yesterday. Yesterday, a statement released by the Walker campaign from Walker's ex-girlfriend confirmed the two dated for seven years and broke up in June, but the "rumors" circulating about the situation between the two are "blatantly false," she wrote. Those responsible are clearly driven by political concerns, she wrote. "Not only should they immediately stop spreading these rumors, but they should also step forward and offer Derek Walker and me a public apology," Kathleen Ferry, Walker's ex-girlfriend, wrote.
Walker's campaign manager, Chad Horner, said yesterday that the campaign chose to release a statement by Walker's ex-girlfriend because the woman has been harassed by reporters after an anonymous letter was sent to several local newspapers informing them of the possible charges. The letter was sent shortly after Walker announced his candidacy in January, Horner said.
Horner also questioned the timing of the charges, filed more than six months after the alleged incident occurred but just five days before the April 22 Pennsylvania primary.
"The alleged incident occurred over 250 days ago. It's very convenient that the DA, who's a Democrat, decided to conclude his investigation five days before the primary," Horner said. Clearfield County District Attorney Bill Shaw did not return phone calls for comment yesterday.