What Fresh Hell Is This?

November 9, 2007

Pgh Public Works employee hired despite having raped a 12 year-old girl

From kdka.com:
Bernard Pendleton is a truck driver for the City Public Works Department. He's a Democratic Committeeman. He's also a convicted felon.

Court documents show that in 1987 Pendleton approached a 12-year-old girl at a bus stop, asked her if she wanted to go smoke marijuana, then took her to a house and raped her, threatening, "If you tell somebody, you know what is going to happen."


Public Works Director Guy Costa is one of several city leaders who approved the hiring of Pendleton because of his Democratic Party affiliation. They never saw his criminal file - didn't know he raped a 12-year-old. But they did know he was a felon. Right on his job application he admits to pleading guilty to statutory rape and illegal gun possession.

"We felt it was good for us to hire him as a truck driver," Costa said.

Griffin: "So it's okay then? On his record he says, 'I have been convicted rape.' That doesn't come across anybody's desk?"

Costa: "Based on the information we had at the time we felt that he was the best candidate."
(Apparently, however, there is no truth to the rumor that Public Works will be handing out Aqua Dots to city children for the holidays.)

May we add that this type of thing is exactly why we need ordinances and not just departmental polices when it comes to hiring and promotions practices in this city?

While we are gratified to learn that women's and DV groups are continuing to meet with police and city officials this week over police policies on officers with domestic violence histories, we cannot allow the police bureau to simply institute their own guidelines.

There must be laws in place when it comes to the safety of women and children in our city.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Really, really, really, really, really, really, bad.

It's one thing to give people a second chance after they've paid their debt to society. I'm all for that.

But you don't give a guy who is a convicted child molester a city truck to drive. The liability on that is frightening. Say he does it again, but lures the kid into the City's truck, and ends up murdering this kid. (Could happen). You want to know who is liable for that, the city, and the person that hired him.

Give the guy a desk job. But don't give him the opportunity to strike again.

Matt H said...

Sounds like they are going to fire the guy.

Maria said...

The point is that he should have never been hired.

Sue said...


Can you cross post this at The Society, please?

I'm sure there are many more examples of this horrifying lack of judgement throughout the hallowed halls of the City. And don't tell me there weren't plenty of non-rapists applying for a City job ....

Sherry said...

at first i thought i'd really like to have heard the conversation when they made the decision to hire this man.

then i thought, maybe not. it might have just made me scream in frustration.

it's RAPE, fellas.

why don't some people see it for what it is.
understand the ethics and the stablity of a person that commits it are bad in most every aspect of that man's character?

yes, give him a chance but don't put him in a job where he is out on the streets. mobile yet! geeezzz!

yes maria please cross post this.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Go back a bit and regroup. Forget him being hired by the City. He got elected as a Democratic Committeman? The folks in his district said, yo this is the guy who is going to lead us in policy. And then the remainder of the committee people said, glad to have you with us bro. Am I still missing something?

Anonymous said...

I want to be clear: the crime he committed is repugnant. However, after people have finished serving their time in jail, they shouldn't be barred from employment. If they are, they'll end up in the crime business (drug dealing) again. Senator Jim Webb (D-Virginia) has had some interesting hearings on this issue recently.

If a black teenager gets caught with a quarter pound of pot, they're headed straight to jail, branded a convicted felon, barred from employment, disenfranchised, and cast into a life in the shadows. If the same thing happens to an affluent white teenager, they'll end up in rehab, and could be well on their way to being President of the United States. There's something wrong with that picture.

After a sentence is served (probation completed and time finished), I object to continuing punishment by excluding people from employment, and forcing them to live on society's margins. This is why hiring a person that has completed their sentence is one thing. But giving a convicted child molester a city truck--a truck that confers at least some authority in the minds of children--is a totally different story. The person who made the decision to hire this many should be shown the door ASAP.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Does anyone have any idea how old this guy was when the incident occurred? Statutory rape should certainly be punished, but if this was a 14-year-old boy with a 12-year-old girl, that changes the picture quite a bit, doesn't it? We DO prosecute kids as adults since Reagan, don't we?

Does anybody know about this reporter? I make it a point not to watch local news, but after a bit of research Marty Griffin sounds like a Glenn Beck wannabe with a Gotcha Complex. He was forced out of his job when his employer in Texas had to shell out $2.2 million to Michael Irvin and Erik Williams in a defamation lawsuit after Griffin accused Irvin of being involved in a rape. Here in SWPA, a local pastor committed suicide after Griffin accused him of "possibly illegal" behavior -- visiting an adult bookstore.

I'd like to suggest that we get some background facts before we get out the ropes and start the bonfires. I know it's not as much fun as jumping on the right-wing, big story, stomp-on-whoever-to-get-ahead bandwagon, but it's what decent people, unlike Griffin, do.

Maria said...

The employee himself called it "statutory" rape which usually means consenual sex with a minor, HOWEVER, reread this:

'Court documents show that in 1987 Pendleton approached a 12-year-old girl at a bus stop, asked her if she wanted to go smoke marijuana, then took her to a house and raped her, threatening, "If you tell somebody, you know what is going to happen."'

That does not sound consenual, does it? (No matter what his age was.)

Matt H said...

Your being a bit too rough on Griffin at KDKA. He is a tough no nonsense reporter who does excellent reporting. His radio show in the AM is also the best in Pittsburgh. He's fair and right down the middle.

This guy is more than likely going to get fired for lying on his application...as he should. He has no place on the city payroll at this point.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Maria, whether or not the sex was consensual is exactly what I want to know, and whether Pendleton was also a minor at the time. Mr. Griffin has given us a very limited view of this story -- which is 20 years old, BTW. In any case, would you make it illegal for anyone to hire an offender who has served his time, or just the city? Would it apply to all those incarcerated, or only sex offenders? Would it apply to everyone, or just blacks?

Matt, you could be right about Griffin's qualities, but I'm going to stick with the evidence I've seen: He has raised two unwarranted sex scandals in two different cities. One failed because his target had the resources to confront him. The other, equally unjustified, was spectacularly successful, resulting in a suicide. This kind of behavior exemplifies "excellent reporting?"

Anonymous said...

John K. says: So shitrock would prefer he be hired to transport his kid around to school and such? Or perhaps babysit his kid or that of his family members?

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Good thing this public works employee was a loyal Democrat. Just think if he had been a member of the Christian Right. Shitrock would be blaming it all on Bush/Cheney and demanding impeachment.

Anon #2 said...

First and foremost, why is there no listing for Bernard Pendleton on the PA Megan’s Law website? If he lives or works anywhere in Pennsylvania and was convicted of raping a child he should be listed on that website. I could not find a listing under his name.

If he is the same Bernard Pendleton who has 2 child support cases and 1 PFA charge in family court, then he is 45 years old – born 11-1-61.

The Bernard Pendleton in the KDKA story was convicted of illegal gun possession on 6-12-83 (freeze frame on the KDKA video to see the date). If Pendleton was a young teen at the time of the rape in 1987 then he would have been elementary school aged in 1983 and his record for gun possession would have been sealed.

So, we can safely assume that a 45yr old city worker who was convicted of illegal gun possession when he was 22 years old also raped a 12 year old girl when he was 26 years old.

He should be fired immediately by the city for lying on his job application.
As to the ‘democratic committeeman’ part, how screwed up and corrupt is the Democratic Party in Allegheny? A guy who rapes a 12 year old girl when he is 26 gets to be a committeeman? I know most of us have read ‘Crashing the Gate’. It’s time for honest Democrats to forcefully take over in Allegheny County.

Maria said...


"Maria, whether or not the sex was consensual is exactly what I want to know,"

Which is exactly why I pointed you in my last comment to the paragraph which relayed what was in the court documents which said that it was not consensual.

Regarding whether or not all felons should be barred from holding jobs or eholding jobs in the city, I do think that there should be high standards for holding a governmetal jobs that taxpayers fund and that a violent felony in your past may preclude you from holding certain governmental jobs.

I do think that some of laws being enacted in the US are becoming draconian even for child rapists where the rules on where they can live basically have some of them living under an underpass. For one thing, that almst guarantees that they will go go underground which isn't good for anyone.

PghLesbian said...

How on earth could a 12 year old consent to sex with an adult male even a 16 or 17 year old? It is simply ridiculous to assert that her ability to make informed decisions, her maturity and thus, her ability to consent, is on par with someone 4 or 14 years older than her.

Anyone older than her should know that it is not appropriate to have sex with a 12 year old child regardless of her assent.

She is a child.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Philadelphia Mayor-elect Michael Nutter--encourage the rehabilitation of people who are released from prison, which ultimately leads to a lower crime rate. The revolving door and escalation of the prison system is good for no one.

I live about 6 miles away from a state prison, and two miles away from the county jail. Property values in my neighborhood have hit rock bottom (in the last year nearly every house on the block has been for sale). The reason: the state of Maryland, in its infinite wisdom, puts the prisoners who are getting released on a bus and dumps them in downtown Hagerstown. No support. No help finding a job. And so the people just release from prison return to their previous ways--theft, drug dealing, whatever--of subsistence.

Nutters proposal uses government funds to promote the hiring of newly released criminals--at $10,000 per person. It's a good idea, and has the government--which is responsible for the failure to rehabilitate people in prison--accept a large chunk of the risk for a person regressing back into a life of crime. And if the $10,000 grant is OK, then it's also OK for the government to hire a person. And the truth is that most criminals, given the chance to actually contribute to society, won't regress into crime--especially as this relates to drug dealers, and the apartheid justice system we have that treats black users of crack 1000 times more harshly than white users of cocaine. They're the same drug for God's sake!

ntylions said...

There is NEVER a circumstance where sexual contact with a 12 year old is consensual. Statutory rape is the rape of a child under the age of 14 which is the (too low) age on consent in Pennsylvania.


Anonymous said...

John K. says: I have a better use for that $10,000 per prisoner if you them proposal. How about using the $10,000 credit for anyone who hires an Iraq/Afhgani war vet? Who is more likely to make better use of the money? Remember, lefties support the military.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Obviously, if the guy was 22, it was rape regardless of consent. (Yes, Maria, I read what you wrote. I simply interpreted it differently.)

It is still wrong to pass judgement before knowing the facts, and IMNSHO that's what some of us did.

This brings us back to the question: Should every sex offender be denied the right to work for the remainder of his life? If so, shouldn't we make every sex offense a life without parole offense?

Maria said...

Let me make it clear that I was assuming that SS was assuming cases where there is little difference in age such as a 12 year-old girl and a 13 year-old boy. The court documents don't appear to say that she ever said yes -- they say that she was threatened by her rapist so the age of the rapist does not come into play (statutory rape vs. non statutory rape).

That said, I do not think a 12 year old can consent to an adult.

Bram Reichbaum said...

Then again, I didn't know 12 year olds could be lured with marijuana. What ever happened to Pop Rocks?

Infinonymous said...

Just think if this guy had been a member of the Christian Right?

Perhaps an adherent of the most accomplished institutional facilitator and concealer of child sexual abuse in a century? That part of the Christian Right?

Unless the city hides the guy's misconduct, transfers him to another neighborhood so he can offend again, and berates the victim, the Christian Right is in no position to mumble a word about this fellow's status as a Democrat. Compared to the largest organized element of Christendom, this guy, as a molester, was a shirker.

Other than that, John K., nice post.