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Article published September 5, 2013
Couple charged with false claims against police
Ten months ago, Virginia Foster-Eisler called the FBI with some explosive allegations against a pair of state police officers in Butler. The 51-year-old Eisler of Prospect claimed the officers had sexually groped her, harassed her and searched her home without producing a warrant. Her husband, John A. Eisler Jr., 56, backed up at least some of the disturbing accusations. The claims prompted an investigation by the state police internal affairs unit. But the focus of that investigation eventually turned to the accusers, authorities said. Last week, police charged both Eislers with lying about the officers’ purported misconduct. They said that what the Eislers claimed, never occurred. Investigators believe the suspects targeted Sgt. Patrick Sarnese and Trooper Gesuele Burello, according to court documents, because they were upset with the officers whose work helped to put Virginia Eisler’s son in prison. Virginia and John Eisler both are charged with retaliation for past official action, making false reports and conspiracy, all misdemeanors. Troopers at the Butler barracks in 2011 were assigned to investigate a rash of burglaries and thefts in the Prospect area. During that probe, 26-year-old Joseph R. Brandon, Virginia Eisler’s son and John Eisler’s stepson, along with two men were identified as suspects in the crime spree. Police in October 2011 arrested Brandon. He was convicted on a list of charges including five counts of burglary. He was sentenced to 14 to 48 months in state prison. On Dec. 6, 2012, he was transferred from the county prison to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to begin serving state time. The day after his prison transfer, documents said, Virginia Eisler called the FBI in Clarksburg, W. Va., with her claims about the two troopers. The Eislers are scheduled to appear before a district judge Oct. 3 when the judge will determine whether police have enough evidence for these cases to go to trial.