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How a high-ranking police inspector evaded punishment for alleged sexual misconduct; Pa. rep to resign after being charged with stealing from own charity | Morning Newsletter

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State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell (D-190th) speaks at a news conference calling for legislation to ban guns at city recreation centers at Mander Playground in Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion section on Wednesday, July 24, 2019.
State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell (D-190th) speaks at a news conference calling for legislation to ban guns at city recreation centers at Mander Playground in Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion section on Wednesday, July 24, 2019.Read moreTim Tai / File Photograph

    The Morning Newsletter

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Another day in Pennsylvania. Another day of misconduct charges facing officials and representatives. The Inquirer investigated claims of sexual misconduct against a man who rose to the level of chief inspector in the Philadelphia Police Department and found that systemic flaws shielded the man from consequences for 15 years, until he was charged with sexual assault this fall. And, a state representative from West Philly was charged yesterday with stealing over a half-million dollars from her own nonprofit and will resign.

In brighter news, the Phillies made a big splash by signing a new starting pitcher from a rival team. Also, did you know that a city library card can now get you into some Philly attractions free?

— Josh Rosenblat (@joshrosenblat,

State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, a Democrat from West Philly, will resign after being charged yesterday with perjury, theft, tampering with public records, and related crimes. She took office in March following a special election.

Johnson-Harrell stole from her nonprofit to spend on real estate, vacations, luxury clothing, and her bid for the legislature, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. The nonprofit’s original goal was to assist poor people struggling with mental illness, addiction, and homelessness.

Carl Holmes was able to rise to the rank of chief inspector in Philadelphia while allegedly assaulting three female cops. And his alleged misdeeds were well known to officials in the Philadelphia Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office, and City Hall.

While the 54-year-old has long denied ever forcing himself on any officer, District Attorney Larry Krasner charged Holmes with sexual assault and related offenses in October. The charges came based on the recommendation of a grand jury that heard testimony from at least three of Holmes’ alleged victims.

My colleagues at The Inquirer took a deep look into Holmes’ conduct. Their findings reveal systemic flaws that shielded him and other top police officials. It also illuminated the city’s procedures for handling sexual misconduct complaints.

The move would lead to about 140,000 people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey losing their benefits. That includes about 38,000 Philadelphians. The new rule will go into effect in April. It will tighten work requirements for people who receive food stamps.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture argued that the decision would encourage people to be less reliant on a government safety net, while anti-hunger advocates worried that the move would increase food insecurity.

What you need to know today

  1. Miss yesterday’s impeachment hearing? Here’s what happened as the top Democrat in the House Judiciary Committee foreshadowed the possibility of bringing formal impeachment charges against President Donald Trump in the coming weeks.

  2. Three prisoners at a now-shuttered Pennsylvania state prison died by suicide and 17 others attempted it nearly a decade ago. This week, the state psychology board revoked the license of the psychologist that was in charge at the time.

  3. Pennsylvania’s sex offender registry law is facing a life-or-death test at the state Supreme Court.

  4. A report from a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization has found that New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and other states are cutting their environmental spending at the what it sees as the worst time.

  5. New Jersey lawmakers are looking into how school districts handle lunch debt, with some legislators hoping to effectively ban “lunch-shaming.”

  6. Two decades ago, a Pennsylvania state trooper preyed on women and teens. And he’s done it again.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

When viewing the city might be better than viewing the football team that plays there, it’s not a good sign. Anyway, nice shot, @ana.mus!

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s interesting

  1. The Phillies made their first big splash in free agency yesterday, opting to boost their starting rotation.

  2. Have a Free Library card? If so, you can now get into cultural sites around the city free.

  3. A society of 300 to 400 language scholars is meeting in New Orleans to determine both the word of the year and the especially important word of the decade. Do you have any suggestions?

  4. Elected officials can provide services to the people they represent. And a freshman congresswoman from Montgomery County has managed to close more constituent service cases than typical freshmen do. She takes pride in that.

  5. Delaware state police say they got three reports of a bear on the move yesterday morning not far from the Pennsylvania border.

  6. Instead of a rookie QB, the Eagles will likely have to stop an all-too-familiar face on Monday night. That’s right, Eli Manning is back.


“So here we are with our half-measures. Our unopened windows. Our promises for change that feel a little empty when you look at what’s happening across the river. It was a day that could never have been happy, but one that’s more cause for celebration than Pennsylvania’s long road ahead.” — columnist Mike Newall writes about the contrast between how New Jersey and Pennsylvania have handled victims of sexual abuse.

  1. Democrats, from Gov. Tom Wolf to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, are hypocrites when it comes to school choice, writes Albert Eisenberg, a Philadelphia-based political consultant who formerly worked for the Philadelphia Republican Party.

  2. Columnist Trudy Rubin writes about why world leaders’ laughter at Trump during the NATO conference wasn’t all that funny.

What we’re reading

  1. Three Philly girls hope that their music video can take on bullying, Billy Penn reports.

  2. More food delivery means more trash, according to Vox.

  3. Over the last 40 years, American cities have gotten more unequal. The New York Times shows that progression in a chart.

Your Daily Dose of | The UpSide

Berkley Harmon, a 16-year-old at Upper Dublin High School, wants everyone to know two things about her. First, she’s a two-sport athlete who is missing her lower left arm. Second, she doesn’t want anyone to feel bad for her.