Coatesville officer gets 11 1/2 to 23 months for theft

Posted: August 01, 2014

A former Coatesville detective who stole from the department where he worked for nearly two decades was sentenced Wednesday to 11 1/2 to 23 months in the Chester County prison, a fraction of the term prosecutors sought.

Gerald Pawling, once honored for civic engagement and public service, stole more than $60,000 from the Coatesville Police Department, Police Benevolent Association, and Police Athletic League.

District Attorney Thomas Hogan, whose office sought a 10- to 20-year sentence, said in a statement that "all of Chester County law enforcement" was dismayed by Judge David Partner's decision.

Pawling came under scrutiny in April 2013 when the incoming president of the police union found financial discrepancies. Investigators later found that Pawling lifted cash evidence envelopes from the police station, filed a fake insurance claim under the department's name, and took nearly $2,800 from the PAL to pay for his driveway to be paved. He pleaded guilty in April.

Pawling's attorney, Dan Bush, called the sentence "harsh but fair."

"Gerald Pawling has dedicated a significant portion of his adult life to volunteering and working for the people of Coatesville," he said.


tnadolny@phillynews.com

610-313-8205

@TriciaNadolny

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