What’s happening in Old Forge does not necessarily come as a surprise to some who have closely followed the borough’s police department over the past several years.
Captain James Krenitsky made headlines in 2006, when a former officer targeted him and the Old Forge Police Department in a sexual harassment lawsuit.
The borough settled out of court just before the case was set to go to trial.
Former Old Forge Officer Michelle Venturi sued the borough and Old Forge Police Captain James Krenitsky.
Venturi sought more than $75,000.
According to the lawsuit, Krenitsky twice used the police two-way radios to broadcast a question to other officers about Venturi.
That question, according to Venturi, was slang for would you have sex with her.
The suit claims Krenitsky asked that question once while with Old Forge firefighter Walter Chiavacci. He is the other man charged in connection with crimes against the teenage girl.
In 2010, the borough settled out of court. The amount was undisclosed.
People in Old Forge learning of Krenitsky’s arrest said that lawsuit should have been a warning.
“If there was a settlement, then there must have been something to that settlement,” said former Old Forge resident Leah Dean.
“They should have done something then,” added Stella Przywara, “and maybe they wouldn’t have this problem today.”
Despite the lawsuit, Krenitsky kept his job as police captain.
Among his recent duties, listed on the Old Forge Police Department’s web page, was school bullying.
The borough lists the captain, now accused of inappropriate behavior with a 15-year-old girl, as the person children victimized by bullies should turn to for help if they are bullied.
“It’s sad,” said Przywara. “It`s really a sad thing, because you shouldn’t advantage of children. I don’t care who you are.”
“I’m surprised,” added Leah Dean, “but I want to reserve judgment until all the facts come out.”
There may be more legal action against Krenitsky and the Old Forge Police Department.
Sources said the attorney for the woman accusing Krenitsky of inappropriate behavior when she was 15 is planning to file a civil lawsuit against Krenitsky and the Old Forge Police Department.