Northwestern Press

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Woodlawn fire chief charged with simple assault, harassment

Thursday, February 14, 2019 by Susan Bryant sbryant@tnonline.com in Police Log

Woodlawn Fire Chief James Kutz was charged with simple assault and harassment Jan. 11 after allegedly pulling a gun on a Boy Scout who was leaving food-drive fliers on house doorknobs in South Whitehall Township.

According to the affidavit of probable cause and criminal complaint obtained from District Judge Jake Hammond’s office, South Whitehall, police were dispatched 7:24 p.m. Nov. 4, 2018, to a home in the 2400 block of Coolidge St., for a possible attempted burglary.

South Whitehall Police Officer Timothy Shoudt states in the affidavit that officers saw a Boy Scouts of America flier on Kutz’s house door.

According to the affidavit, Kutz said his wife was in the living room, when she heard the door handle to their storm door rattle.

Shoudt stated when Kutz’s wife looked outside she saw a male on the front porch.

When they made eye contact, the male ran from the front door and eventually got in a vehicle that left the area.

According to Shoudt, Kutz let police to view a video clip of his front door which showed a male in a reflective vest hanging a flier on the storm door.

Shoudt stated that a short time later, South Whitehall Township police received a call from the Scoutmaster for Troop 8 who said the Boy Scouts were distributing fliers on doors in the neighborhood for their annual food drive and he identified one of the Scouts.

Police then received a telephone call from the Boy Scout’s mother, who said her son was involved in the alleged incident with Kutz. Shoudt states in the affidavit, on Nov. 5, 2018 he interviewed the Boy Scout, a 12-year-old middle school student, and his mother.

According to the affidavit, the Scout said he was distributing fliers for the Scouting for Food Drive on Nov. 4, 2018.

He placed a flier on the storm door at Kutz’s home and the curve handle moved a bit when he slid the flier around it.

Once he put the flier on the door he went to the next house in the 1700 block of N. Filbert St., and placed one there.

As he was walking down the driveway, Kutz, who was allegedly holding a gun, came out of his house and began yelling at him to get on the ground.

Shoudt states the Scout did what he was told until his father came and told him to get in the car.

On Nov. 6, 2018, Shoudt interviewed a second Boy Scout, who was with the first Scout two days earlier.

That Scout said he was distributing fliers on the opposite side of the street, when he allegedly heard Kutz yell, “Get down on the freaking ground.”

When the second Scout looked for his fellow Boy Scout, who was wearing a head lamp, he did not see his light, so he ran and got the other Scout’s father, who was waiting in a parked vehicle down the street.

On Nov. 13, 2018, Shoudt interviewed the first Boy Scout’s father, who said he saw the second Scout running down the road toward him and who told him what was happening with his son.

The father further stated when he arrived at his son’s location, he was lying in the area of the driveway of a home next door to Kutz’s house.

Kutz was allegedly standing approximately 20 feet away with his hands just above his waist but down at his side.

The Scout’s father stated he was unable to see if Kutz had anything in his hands.

According to the affidavit, the Scout’s father asked Kutz what was going on.

Kutz allegedly responded the first Boy Scout was trying to break into his house.

According to the affidavit, the father then told Kutz his son was handing out fliers and after further discussion with Kutz, told his son to get into the car.

Kutz’ preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 21 before Judge Hammond.