Sheriff: K-9 sponsor wasn't tipped off about his PFA
York County Sheriff Richard Keuerleber has released more details about his interactions with the CEO of a York City business who has a protection from abuse order lodged against him.
"I've been transparent and have taken full responsibility," he told The York Dispatch on Thursday, July 25.
The sheriff confirmed he spoke with United Fiber & Data CEO Bill Hynes prior to Hynes being served with notice of the PFA, but not because the sheriff initiated that contact.
"He was never tipped off," Keuerleber said.
Hynes called the sheriff to say he wasn't in his office when deputies went there to serve him with paperwork, according to Keuerleber.
"He said, 'Your (deputies) are looking for me. Can they serve my staff?'" the sheriff said, adding he told Hynes that deputies needed to serve Hynes in person.
Keuerleber said he didn't tell Hynes that the civil process service was for a PFA. In York County, deputies handle civil process service for other types of court cases as well, including lawsuits.
Earlier this week, the York County commissioners issued a joint statement calling Keuerleber derelict in his duties for allowing Hynes to park in the secure lot under the York County Judicial Center for his July 15 PFA hearing. The lot is where the county's common pleas judges park, as well as row officers and certain court personnel.
'Serious breach': The commissioners described it as a serious breach of security.
Keuerleber said he has allowed Hynes — who has donated money to the sheriff's office to help support its K-9 program, specifically K-9 Dargo — to park in the secure lot in the past, to visit Dargo.
The sheriff said he met Hynes in the lot and escorted him to the portion of the sheriff's office that's located on the fourth floor of the judicial center, where Dargo's handler, Lt. David Godfrey, took over escorting Hynes. The sheriff's main office is on the first floor of the building.
"He wasn't a threat to anyone who came in the building," Keuerleber said.
The fourth-floor area is used for training, as well as by the K-9 unit, the warrants division, the community-services division and by the deputies who work in the York County Drug Task Force and the sheriff's Crime Reduction Unit, he said.
Keuerleber doesn't agree that what he did constitutes a security breach.
"It's within my discretion ... to make exceptions to searches and screenings of persons entering the facility," he said. "I didn't violate any policies or procedures."
He said the commissioners can review and revise the judicial center's security protocols if they choose, and he said he looks forward to such a review.
The background: Hynes' ex-girlfriend filed for a temporary PFA against him July 9, alleging he repeatedly threatened to kill her, shoved her repeatedly, stalked her when she was in Florida and choked her when they were in Fiji.
The woman's petition alleges Hynes, 47, threatened her as recently as July 8 and alleges abuse going back to 2014, when Hynes hired her to work for Think Loud.
The temporary PFA was granted on July 15, according to court records.
Common Pleas Judge Amber A. Kraft also ordered Hynes to relinquish any guns in his possession, records state. The PFA petition stated Hynes possessed a gun.
However, Hynes told deputies he didn't own any firearms, Keuerleber confirmed.
The sheriff said deputies had Hynes sign an affidavit stating he didn't have any guns, which is standard procedure when PFA defendants ordered to relinquish their firearms tell deputies they don't have any.
Attorney Chris Ferro, who represents Hynes, called the PFA allegations baseless and without "evidentiary support."
York County Commissioners Susan Byrnes, Doug Hoke and Chris Reilly issued this statement the afternoon of Tuesday, July 23:
"The York County Commissioners have completed their investigation regarding a breach of security which occurred at the Judicial Center on Monday, July 15, 2019. The Commissioners have concluded, as a result of their investigation that there was a dereliction of duty by the Sheriff which resulted in a security breach. The breach allowed a defendant with an active Ex Parte Protection from Abuse Order against him to park in a secure area. By admission of the Sheriff, the formal security protocols were not followed.
"The commissioners believe this was a serious breach of security which will result in review of the county’s security policies and procedures in light of this incident and we intend to implement changes."
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.