Former York City mayor's son avoids criminal conviction
Prosecutors have withdrawn a simple assault charge filed against the son of former York City Mayor Kim Bracey for allegedly attacking her at her campaign headquarters, saying they couldn't proceed without the victim's cooperation.
In exchange, Brandon Anderson pleaded guilty to a summary offense and was ordered to pay a fine.
Bracey said she would "not be cooperative with the prosecution under any circumstances," chief deputy prosecutor Seth Bortner said during a guilty-plea hearing for Anderson on Monday, June 25.
Bortner told presiding Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook that there also were other reasons the York County District Attorney's Office was withdrawing the second-degree misdemeanor of simple assault.
Bracey's statement to police was not video- or audio-recorded by the investigating officer, who also didn't have Bracey write down her statement, according to Bortner. That means the prosecution would have had no statement from Bracey to enter into evidence at a trial in lieu of her testimony, he said.
Thirdly, Bortner told the judge, the police report of the alleged attack failed to list the names or contact information of those who witnessed it.
"Given where we are with the case," he and defense attorney Chris Ferro were proposing a negotiated plea agreement, Bortner told the judge — that the prosecution would withdraw the second-degree misdemeanor simple assault charge in exchange for Anderson pleading guilty to the summary offense of harassment and paying the maximum fine of $300.
'Sad statement': "That's a really sad statement in a lot of different ways," Cook said in open court.
She then asked the 31-year-old Anderson what he had done to make him guilty of summary harassment. A summary offense is akin in seriousness to a traffic ticket.
"I had a brief altercation with my mother and I ended up putting my hands on her," he said.
When Cook pressed for details, Anderson said he didn't "really remember" what happened, adding he hadn't gotten "a whole lot of sleep" around that time and also had been in a car crash.
Cook asked him if he was under the influence of any substances when he put his hands on Bracey, and Anderson said he wasn't.
Bortner then read into the record what police alleged happened, which included Anderson punching Bracey in the face, knocking her down and kicking her in the face, head and back.
Cook accepted Anderson's plea and the proposed plea agreement, noting that "the victim is not cooperative" and that there was no written or recorded statement from Bracey about what happened to her.
'Frustrating': "It's frustrating — I'll leave it at that," Bortner told reporters, adding the lack of evidence provided to prosecutors "forced us to handle the case in a way in which we wouldn't have otherwise."
Ferro told The York Dispatch that his client is, and has been, remorseful about what he did to his mother. The attorney also said he thinks Anderson is a "terrific young man."
"We all make mistakes," Ferro said. "He and his family have paid a heavy public price for this incident."
In the days after the Sept. 30 incident, York City Police failed to release a statement about its sitting mayor allegedly being assaulted by her son during a campaign event inside her campaign headquarters.
York City Police's charging documents identified Bracey as "Cecilia Bracey." While Cecilia is her legal first name, she doesn't use it.
Charging documents also failed to note that the confrontation happened at her campaign headquarters during a campaign event.
After Anderson's arrest became public, Bracey issued a statement that her son was struggling with an addiction to opioids. Not long afterward, defense attorney Ferro said Anderson was in treatment.
Communication issue? Reached Monday for comment, Bracey said: "No one from the district attorney's office communicated with me relative to the incident."
But Kyle King, spokesman for the DA's office, said there was no miscommunication.
"It was made clear to us by her that she would not testify against her son," King said.
Bracey also told The York Dispatch that she is happy with the outcome of Anderson's case.
"My son and I have put this behind us," Bracey said.
Anderson, of York City, had tried to gain entrance to a diversionary court program that would have allowed him to avoid conviction, but the DA's office rejected him because the charges were domestic-violence related, and also because he was on probation within a year of new charges being filed, and because he still owed court costs and fees in another case.
At the time he put his hands on his mother, Anderson was working as a shift supervisor for York City's wastewater-treatment plant. He resigned from that position at the end of December, York City officials have said.
The details: York City Police arrested Anderson about 11:15 a.m. Sept. 30 at then-Mayor Bracey's former South Beaver Street campaign headquarters.
Anderson kicked Bracey several times in the face, head and back while she was on the ground, court documents state.
Those documents also allege Anderson tried to hit Bracey with a wooden flagpole before a bystander stepped in and stopped him.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.