Cir­illo’s le­gal trou­bles are far from over

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Mont­coCourtNews on Twit­ter

NOR­RIS­TOWN >> While a jury de­ter­mined his fate for one crime, con­vict­ing him of rap­ing an un­con­scious fe­male client, a for­mer Nor­ris­town lawyer’s le­gal trou­bles are far from over.

Vin­cent A. Cir­illo Jr., 57, convicted by a Mont­gomery County jury on Wed­nes­day of rape and other sex­ual as­sault-re­lated charges, faces another trial for al­legedly il­le­gally pos­ing as the rape vic­tim’s cur­rent lawyer to try to ob­tain con­fi­den­tial court doc­u­ments per­tain­ing to her from a Mont­gomery County Court of­fice.

Cir­illo, who had a law of­fice on East Penn Street in Nor­ris­town, faces charges of iden­tity theft, con­spir­acy to com­mit iden­tity theft, forgery and falsely im­per­son­at­ing a pri­vately em­ployed per­son in con­nec­tion with the al­leged Sept. 21, 2016, in­ci­dent.

Cir­illo, of the 200 block of Ham­p­den Av­enue,

Nar­berth, who has pleaded not guilty to the re­main­ing charges, faces a pre­trial con­fer­ence on the mat­ter in the com­ing weeks be­fore Judge Steven T. O’Neill.

“It’s an open case and the de­fense and I will con­tinue to talk about the case as it moves for­ward. I think it’s se­ri­ous, stand­ing on its own mer­its, sep­a­rate and apart from the sex­ual as­sault case he was just convicted of,” county As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney M. Ste­wart Ryan said about the charges still pend­ing against Cir­illo.

In the mean­time, Cir­illo, who is rep­re­sented by de­fense lawyer Nino V. Ti­nari, re­mains in the county jail await­ing sen­tenc­ing in con­nec­tion with the rape of

an im­paired fe­male client at the woman’s West Nor­ri­ton res­i­dence on Aug. 3, 2015. Cir­illo was convicted of that charge on Wed­nes­day by a jury that de­lib­er­ated about six hours over two days.

Cir­illo faces a pos­si­ble max­i­mum sen­tence of 16 to 52 years in prison when he’s sen­tenced on the sex­ual as­sault charges later this year by O’Neill.

Cir­illo could face an ad­di­tional pos­si­ble max­i­mum sen­tence of 11 ½ to 23 years in prison if he’s even­tu­ally convicted of the pend­ing charges re­lated to the al­leged false im­per­son­ation case.

Cir­illo is well-known in county le­gal cir­cles. Cir­illo is the son of the late Vin­cent A. Cir­illo, a for­mer Lower Me­rion com­mis­sioner, county prose­cu­tor and judge who went on to be pres­i­dent judge of

the Penn­syl­va­nia Su­pe­rior Court from 1986 to 1990.

With the new charges, county de­tec­tives al­leged Cir­illo posed as the rape vic­tim’s cur­rent lawyer, Ja­son Donoghue, to at­tempt to ob­tain con­fi­den­tial civil court doc­u­ments per­tain­ing to her from the Mont­gomery County Do­mes­tic Re­la­tions Of­fice.

“By en­gag­ing in this con­duct, the de­fen­dant used Mr. Donoghue’s iden­ti­fy­ing in­for­ma­tion with­out his con­sent to fur­ther an un­law­ful pur­pose, specif­i­cally to gain ac­cess to pri­vate ar­eas of the (Do­mes­tic Re­la­tions Of­fice) premises and gather con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion about the in­di­vid­ual he is ac­cused of rap­ing,” county De­tec­tive Lt. Christo­pher Kuk­lentz wrote in the ar­rest af­fi­davit. “There is seem­ingly only one pur-

pose be­hind the de­fen­dant’s ac­tions; that is to gather in­for­ma­tion he be­lieves may be used to im­prop­erly at­tack (the vic­tim’s) char­ac­ter at his crim­i­nal trial…”

On Sept. 21, Cir­illo, who had been free on bail while await­ing trial on the sex­ual as­sault charges, went to the county’s Do­mes­tic Re­la­tions Of­fice, which con­trols con­fi­den­tial files con­cern­ing child cus­tody and sup­port mat­ters.

Cir­illo al­legedly asked court clerks to re­view files re­lated to the rape vic­tim’s pend­ing civil mat­ter and iden­ti­fied him­self as Ja­son Donoghue, the vic­tim’s cur­rent lawyer, ac­cord­ing to the ar­rest af­fi­davit. Cir­illo al­legedly made “an il­leg­i­ble mark­ing”

on a sign-in sheet meant for the at­tor­ney of record.

De­tec­tives said un­der law, much of the con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion main­tained in do­mes­tic re­la­tions files is pro­tected by state and fed­eral law and the of­fice only al­lows the par­ties or their lawyers of record to re­view or copy doc­u­ments con­tained in those files.

A clerk noted Cir­illo’s sig­na­ture was il­leg­i­ble and she asked that he make a leg­i­ble mark­ing on the sign-in sheet and Cir­illo com­plied and con­tin­ued to claim he rep­re­sented the al­leged vic­tim in her civil cases, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint.

Cir­illo then al­legedly re­quested copies of 13 doc­u­ments con­tained in the file. But quick-think­ing clerks grew sus­pi­cious about the il­leg­i­ble sig­na­ture and no­ticed that writ­ten on the signin

sheet over the il­leg­i­ble sig­na­ture was what ap­peared to be the name “V. Cir­illo,” ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers. The clerk re­trieved all doc­u­ments and con­fronted Cir­illo about his al­leged claim to be Ja­son Donoghue and he de­nied say­ing that, court pa­pers in­di­cate.

Cir­illo then al­legedly told the clerk that he did rep­re­sent the vic­tim “at one time.”

“(The clerk) told him in or­der to get the doc­u­ments he would have to en­ter his ap­pear­ance on be­half of (the vic­tim). The de­fen­dant re­fused to do so and left,” Kuk­lentz al­leged.

The clerk told de­tec­tives she was “one hun­dred per­cent pos­i­tive” that Cir­illo had iden­ti­fied him­self as Ja­son Donoghue.

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