Petition of Support

James and Betty Rourke are considered pillars of the community in Path Valley,PA. They have been known for volunterring their time at different charity events and have helped staff a local food pantry. Mr. Rourke and his wife are very compassionate and have a strong desire to help children in need. They are role model foster parents and have fostered nearly 60 children since becoming foster parents in 1995. Most of the children they provide care to maintain life-long relationships with them. Freddy Rickard III, their foster son, has been residing with the Rourke family for the last 6 1/2 years. Although he was recently released from the foster care system because is in now of age, the Rourke family agreed to care for him and has allowed him to remain a part of their family. On January 28, 2010, Freddy was in a horrific car accident and was flown to Penn State Hershey Medical Center with severe head trauma and a broken right femur. He remains hospitalized and continues to fight for his life. On the scene of the accident the PA State Police are alleging that Mr. Rourke was uncontrollable and physically assaulted a trooper at the accident scene after he was asked to move away from the unsafe accident scene. Troopers grabbed Mr. Rourke, called him a vulgar name, and threw him on the ground despite his heart condition which they were warned about. As a result of this alleged confrontation Mr. Rourke is facing charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and failure to disperse upon official order. The aggravated assault charge carries a state prison sentence of up to 10 years. Because of the circumstances, Mr. Rourke was unable to control his emotions and only wanted to be close to his son not knowing if that would be the last time he would see him alive. Mr. Rourke did NOT cause any bodily harm or injuries to troopers nor did they require medical attention as a result of Mr. Rourke's alleged assault. If Mr. Rourke is found guilty of these charges and is sentenced to time in State Prison, this would not only end his ability to serve as a foster parent, most importantly, would be detrimental to his son who needs him now more then ever. This would be an injustice to his family, his son, all of the foster children in need of a good family, his community and to all that know him. We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who respectfully request and urge the Court to act now to dismiss all the criminal charges James C Rourke is facing due to the extenuating circumstances surrounding this tragic accident.

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