Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of William J. Foley v. Civil Service Commission of the City of Philadelphia, No. 3490 July Term, 1977.
Gilbert B. Abramson, Abramson and Freedman, for appellant.
Judith N. Dean, Deputy, Appeals Division, with her Gayle R. Smith, Assistant City Solicitor, and Alan J. Davis, City Solicitor, for appellee.
Judges Mencer, Blatt and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 595]
William J. Foley (appellant) has appealed from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County which affirmed the decision of the Civil Service Commission of the City of Philadelphia (Commission) dismissing appellant for conduct unbecoming a police officer.
The record indicates that, on July 31, 1976, appellant went on a group bus trip to New York sponsored by a local Philadelphia tavern, for the purpose of seeing a baseball game. By the time the bus arrived back in Philadelphia that evening, appellant, by his own admission, had consumed over 20 cans of beer. He then stopped at the Philadelphia tavern, where he was refused service because he appeared intoxicated. From there, appellant hitchhiked a ride towards his home. However, appellant rode past the street closest to his home and was let off in an area known to be frequented by homosexuals. He waited for the trolley for a few minutes and, when it didn't come, he walked around the area to sober up. Appellant testified that he then saw a young boy sitting alone on a wall and, knowing that homosexuals
[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 596]
gathered in the area, he attempted to chase the boy away by stating, "You look like for five dollars you look like [sic] you would be easy to pick up. Why don't you get out of here?" The 12-year-old boy ran away and reported to a nearby policeman that appellant offered him $5 for an act of oral sodomy. Soon after, the policeman arrested appellant.*fn1
On August 26, 1976, appellant was dismissed by the police commissioner as a result of this incident. After a hearing on appeal, the Commission found that appellant was dismissed for "just cause," as required by the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter,*fn2 based upon the following findings of fact:
1. Appellant admitted that after returning from the New York trip, he hitched a ride with some boys and, although the car passed his home, he did not go home at that time but instead exited the vehicle in the vicinity of Frankford and Pratt, an area he characterized as a meeting place for homosexuals; and
2. Appellant admitted that he was so intoxicated upon returning from New York that he did not know exactly what it was he said to the Swenson boy at 8:45 p.m. on the night in question; and
3. Appellant admitted not only drinking excessively but that he took the time to notice the boy, walk over to him, speak to ...