Judge orders probation in crossing-guard beat-down

Posted: April 24, 2013

SHAQUANA OUTLAW lived up to her last name and beat school crossing guard Alicia Carranco so badly in September 2010 that Carranco still sees doctors for her lingering mental and physical problems.

But a judge on Friday punished Outlaw, 22, with just probation, outraging Carranco and the crowd of crossing guards who showed up to support her.

"This is saying: Go ahead and beat them up, because you'll go to court and be acquitted," said Carranco, 51, who still cries about the attack.

Outlaw actually was convicted of simple assault and recklessly endangering another person, charges that could have gotten her up to four years in prison.

But because she had no prior felony convictions, Common Pleas Judge Sean F. Kennedy sentenced her to just three years of probation, anger management and restitution to be determined at a later hearing. Kennedy found Outlaw not guilty of aggravated assault, which could have gotten her 10 years in prison.

Cases like Carranco's are behind two state lawmakers' push to toughen penalties against people who assault crossing guards.

In Pennsylvania, attacking public employees - including cops, firefighters and teachers - while they are working automatically earns the attacker an aggravated-assault charge. In 2011, a Pittsburgh lawmaker tried to add crossing guards and volunteer firefighters to the list. The bill stalled in the Senate.

But sponsor Rep. Dom Costa, D-Pittsburgh, partnered with Rep. Bernie O'Neill, R-Warminster, this year to reintroduce it. The bill was amended on Tuesday for reconsideration, with public-utility workers added as a protected class.

O'Neill's support for the bill sprang from personal experience. His crossing-guard father was assaulted outside Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster while on the job in the 1980s.

Outlaw attacked Carranco, 51, on Sept. 17, 2010, as the crossing guard escorted children outside the Alexander K. McClure School in Hunting Park. Irked after Carranco scolded her for nearly hitting children with her car, Outlaw cussed Carranco out and began beating her so badly that at least four bystanders called 9-1-1 and a passer-by had to pull the younger woman off the crossing guard.

Carranco was so badly injured that medics rushed her to the hospital with her eyes swollen shut.

Carranco no longer is a crossing guard. She lost her job after 19 years when her bosses claimed she abandoned her corner. She contends she never refused to work - she just refused to return to the street.

On Twitter: @DanaDiFilippo

Blog: phillyconfidential.com

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