The previous conduct of the Old Forge police chief now charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl is now being called into question.
Newswatch 16 has new information about what state police found Wednesday when troopers raided the Old Forge Police Department.
According to the state police affidavit, findings inside Chief Larry Semenza’s desk include a bag of marijuana, two condoms and receipts for women’s underwear in 2005 and 2006, about the time police said Semenza was sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl.
According to paperwork, police also found a letter of congratulations from the girl to Semenza on his 2005 promotion to chief.
Meantime, a Newswatch 16 investigation uncovered paperwork that shows over two decades, during two of his three marriages, Larry Semenza’s own police department had to be called to his house in Old Forge.
Before he took the reins as chief of Old Forge police, some of the officers who Sergeant Larry Semenza supervised investigated calls of domestic disturbances.
Newswatch 16 obtained six Old Forge police reports between 1993 and 1995, when officers, who Semenza worked with and supervised as a sergeant on the force, were called to Semenza’s Sussex Avenue home to investigate.
In one report from February, 1995, wife Kim Semenza said she was caring for an infant when the couple argued.
She told investigators, “Larry pushed her (Kim) to get out of the doorway,” then “Larry pushed her into a bookcase.”
Semenza claimed his wife, “Took a knife and was coming at him.”
Records show police were also called to the Semenza home in July and November in 1995 on domestic disturbances.
Then in December, an incident report shows Kim Semenza went to the Old Forge Police Department ‘crying and upset.” According to the report, Larry Semenza was angry and “wanted her to quit her job because she works too much.” Then according to the report, “He (Larry) punched her in the eye, and the face, also the chest.”
The report reads that when an Old Forge officer tried to interview Semenza, he replied, “‘Blank’ you. Arrest me, call my lawyer.”
Semenza was never arrested, but his wife received a protection from abuse order the she later had dismissed. The Semenza’s divorced in 1996.
A decade later, Larry Semenza was up for a promotion to the chief’s job. The question is did the mayor or borough council members at the time know about any of this before giving Semenza the job?
“No. I was not aware of that,” said Tony Torquato, who was mayor of Old Forge when Semenza became chief. “If it seemed like there was any truth in the allegations, what we probably would have done is call in an outsider in the district attorney’s office.”
Documents seized in Wednesday’s raid by state police show even after his promotion to chief, Semenza’s home was still visited by the officers he supervised for more reports of domestic violence.
The most recent call to Semenza’s home that he shared with his third wife was in March of this year.
According to state police paperwork, current officer in charge Kim Buggey told investigators, “She was told by Chief Semenza to delete the narrative (the details of the investigation.)” Other interviews revealed “Semenza interfered with ongoing criminal investigations,” and that in some domestic violence cases, “no arrest would be initiated due to the suspects being favorable to the borough and or police department.”
Newswatch 16 tried to ask Larry Semenza for comment, but as we were approaching his home Thursday afternoon, he drove off in his pick-up truck.