Dauphin Co. judge lifts order; demolition continues on 117 yr old church

A Dauphin County judge lifts an order to stop demolition of a church that partially collapsed in late February.

And now, the Bishop’s attorney says the city violated constitutional rights.

Demolition halted Monday after Bishop Augustus Sullivan’s attorney issued an injunction to stop the city from tearing down a building that was condemned in 2009.

But that order was lifted Wednesday morning – and plans for demolition crews to pick up where they left off were already in the works with Empire Services from Reading.

“When I leave here in 10 minutes I’ll be calling the contractor get them back on site,” says the city’s codes administrator, David Petton.

Petton says the structure was left in worse condition than before – after demolition stopped Monday.

“To stop this demolition in mid-stream was one of the most unbelievably reckless things I have seen – all the lateral support has been removed and creates more of a danger – these folks have been living in “Shadow of Vesuvius” for almost 5 years now just waiting for this thing to crumble,” says Petton.

Petton says the 132,000 plus dollar demolition will take about 2 weeks.

Bishop Augustus Sullivan wasn’t in court this morning because he’s in the hospital – according to his attorney – with heart problems possibly due to stress.

Although the city condemned the century old building back in 2009 – Sullivan’s attorny says he was under a verbal agreement with Linda Thompson’s administration that the city would not take any action.

“That’s when due process is missing because he detrimentally relied on the fact that the city had stayed all movement … so if they’re going to revive that they’ve got to give him new notice of that and a new opportunity to appeal which they didn’t do,” says Bishop Augustus Sullivan’s attorney, Sandra Thompson.

Thompson says they’re going to continue moving forward with a civil complaint and equity that states due process wasn’t followed.

She says her client did all he could with finances to rehab the church and that Bishop Sullivan’s heart is “ripped in two”.

She claims Sullivan hired someone to fix the roof but that person was later prosecuted for “taking money and running”.

Sullivan’s attorney says she remains hopeful that they and the city can move forward with some sort of agreement so that Sullivan isn’t responsible for the city’s demolition.