Child-support scofflaw out of jail with promise of a job
SUNBURY - A Ranshaw man taken into custody last week for failing to pay court costs and approximately $33,000 in child support was released from prison Wednesday following a hearing in which it was determined he has a full-time job waiting for him.
Jesse Feudale, 39, of 14 Main St., was placed on supervised probation for six months by Judge Charles Saylor and ordered to begin child support payments by having a certain percentage of wages taken from his paycheck when he begins his $12 per hour job with FireDEX of Mount Carmel later this week.
Saylor also increased Feudale's purge order requiring him to serve 60 days rather than 45 days in county prison if he fails to make child support payments.
Feudale was taken into custody July 23 at his girlfriend's home in Kulpmont by county adult probation officers and deputy sheriffs during a warrant "blitz" in an effort to recover $22.8 million in court costs owed to the county since 1965.
His last child support payment of $50 was made in January 2013. Feudale also owes $753.26 in court costs stemming from a 2004 simple assault case.
Job, school waiting
The defendant, who walked into the courtroom Wednesday with his legs shackled, had appeared before Saylor Monday for another bench warrant hearing in which he reportedly led the judge to believe he was already employed full time. Upon hearing his employment status, which would help Feudale make payments toward child custody and court costs, Saylor lifted Feudale's bench warrant.
But before he was scheduled to be released from prison, Bethany Price, an enforcement officer with the county's domestic relations office, called FireDEX to check on the status of Feudale's employment.
Price told the court she was informed by Alfred E. Bailey Sr., president of FireDEX, that Feudale's initial request for employment, sometime prior to his imprisonment last week, was not granted because the company didn't have enough work for a new employee.
But it seems there was a misunderstanding, and that Bailey already on Monday did plan to hire Feudale, though he wasn't yet officially an employee.
Reached by telephone in court Wednesday, Bailey told the judge he agreed to hire Feudale as a full-time employee upon his release from prison. He said his business has become busier since Feudale first approached him, and that he was seeking an experienced worker.
Saylor said he received a letter from Bailey Wednesday morning clarifying Feudale's employment status. The judge also received a letter Wednesday from McCann School of Business and Technology verifying Feudale is enrolled in the electrical systems program at the school's Pottsville campus. The letter states Feudale has been a student since May 22 and expects to graduate April 6, 2016.
During Wednesday's hearing, Feudale maintained that he didn't lie to the judge about his employment status and was just trying to straighten out his life by securing a full-time job.
But Feudale's former girlfriend, Miranda (Herb) Koharski, 38, of Coal Township, testified that Feudale has failed to straighten out his life despite being given several opportunities to do so.
Life is a mess
An emotional Koharski said Feudale has never taken an interest in their two children, Hilary, 20, and Jesse, 17, since they split in 1999, and has failed to pay $33,000 in child support over the years.
"I'm asking you to do the right thing by making him pay child support for my kids," Koharski told the judge.
Koharski, who has been employed by the county since 2011, said Feudale has been fired from previous jobs and predicted his alleged poor employment track record will continue.
Feudale responded, "My whole life has been a mess. But I'm trying to straighten it out by getting this job."
After the hearing, Koharski added, "He hasn't seen the kids since they were 5 and 2. I've had full custody of them since 2000. I just want what's right for my kids and for other single parents experiencing the same thing."
Also testifying Wednesday were Price and county court costs collection supervisor Sarah Snyder.