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Deputy Sheriff Leaked Gun Permit, Police Say

Darin Ray Steward, of Plainfield Township, is accused of illegally giving another person's permit application to a West Easton councilwoman.

A Northampton County deputy sheriff is accused of illegally leaking confidential information about a gun permit application to a West Easton councilwoman.

Darin Ray Steward, 45, of Plainfield Township, was charged Thursday with illegal dissemination of information and obstruction of the administration of law for allegedly turning over a copy of a license-to-carry permit application to West Easton Councilwoman Kelly Gross.

According to court records, the case began when attorney Richard Orloski notified the Northampton County District Attorney that he had gotten a photo copy of a license-to-carry application.

Court records do not indicate whose application Orloski had recieved. However, Orloski forwarded a copy of his letter to the DA to Patch editors last month, indicating the permit had been filed by Tricia Mezzacappa, a West Easton resident and current candidate for Northampton County Council.

In Orloski's e-mail, he states that Mezzacappa had used him as a reference in her permit application, when he in fact was in no way endorsing her. Orloski represents blogger Bernie O'Hare, who has a long-running feud with Mezzacappa.

Mezzacappa had been charged last year with threatening Gross, and was later convicted of disorderly conduct.

According to court records, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli asked the sheriff's department to investigate the leak.

The affidavit, filed by a county detective, says the sheriff had one of his sergeants look into the leak. One day in March, the sergeant and Steward were target shooting when the sergeant mentioned the investigation.

"You don't have to do an investigation," Steward allegedly said. "I did it."

According to court documents, Steward made the copy on March 10, and then turned it over to Gross on March 15.

Steward was arraigned before Senior District Judge Elizabeth Romig-Gainer in downtown Easton, and was released on his own recognizance.

Kaos8 April 20, 2013 at 02:56 PM
I know Darin, and have worked with him for 10yrs. He is also a very good friend of mine.. I know there was no malicious intent on his part, unfortunately, it was a great error and lack of better judgement- that he is now paying for. He is one of the kindest people you will meet and was definately one of the best Police Officers and Deputies I have ever worked with. Honestly, I do not think he has any other blemishes on his record...He has a great work ethic, and even after this situation came to light, knowing that he was facing possibly serious charges- he still went ahead and handled the Sheriff Dept Easter Egg Hunt for many many kids...Instead of "jumping ship" and refusing this charitable event- He spent a ton of his personal time and effort pulling off this event...That is just the kind of person he is. Most people would have just said "screw it" and left everyone hanging high and dry.... In any case, I still have great respect for him and stand by him in his time of need. I hope other people that know him, do not become fairweather friends because of this incident. His previous work and good ethics speak volumes- I just hope people see that.
Kaos8 April 20, 2013 at 03:08 PM
Also, there was not as much drama when a Northampton County Dispatch Supervisor leaked NCIC/CLEAN driver's license information to non-law enforcement- in which lead to, I believe an assault, years ago. FYI- that supervisor is no longer there, but instead of firing her- the county moved her to the Corrections Dept. I do not know if charges were ever brought up against her- but I doubt it- because she still had a job at Northampton Co after the incident....JUST FOOD FOR THOUGHT! Not to mention I don't believe anything happened after the SANDY HOOK incident where that magazine listed a ton of names of people who had gun permits...SO, how did they possibly get that information legally and were allowed to print it for the public? I recall a lot of publicity about it- but doubt that any charges were brought up due to it... Is Gun Permit information part of the "Right To Know ACT"? That would be my question? I only ask because it would appear that it is ok to give this information out- depending on who you are... The law cannot go both ways.
BB4843 April 21, 2013 at 12:25 AM
Sounds like a guy with a hero complex who does what he wants not caring who he hurts or about the consequences. He just had to come to the aid of a damsel in distress instead of choosing a legal and more appropriate action. He lost the respect of many and his career is probably over. Only a fool would trust him now so good luck with the job hunt. Hope she was worth it. P.S. He does the Easter Egg Hunt because it makes him look good - plain & simple. He is a man of questionable motives.

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