Pennsylvania AA member Robert Rene Ortgiesen was sentenced to jail for threatening to kill a fellow Alcoholics Anonymous member at an AA meeting, taking place at St John’s Church (Hope they have good insurance). Ortigesen was accussing the victim of selling drugs to other AA members at the meetings!
I wonder how many children or teenagers were at this AA meeting, considering they like going into our high schools and invite them to meetings. They say the ‘diversity’ of members is good for them. This practice is outrageous. Articles like this continue to prove that minors are not safe in AA or NA meetings.
Limerick man jailed for pipe assault at Pottstown AA meeting
NORRISTOWN – A Limerick man has admitted to using a pipe as a deadly weapon to assault another man during an altercation at an Alcoholics’ Anonymous meeting at a Pottstown church.
Robert Rene Ortgiesen, 47, of the first block of Annette Drive, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to six to 23 months in the county jail after he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of aggravated assault in connection with the December 2011 incident. Judge William R. Carpenter, who accepted a plea agreement in the matter, also ordered Ortgiesen to complete four years’ probation after he’s paroled from jail.
By pleading guilty to the charge, Ortgiesen admitted that he attempted to cause or intentionally or knowingly caused bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon, specifically, a pipe.
An investigation of Ortgiesen began, according to court papers, about 12:25 p.m. Dec. 28 when police responded to St. John’s Church, 301 Cherry St., after witnesses reported that an armed subject had pointed a gun at another person.
“The actual victim of the assault was unable to determine whether or not it was a gun or a pipe so we were satisfied that (Ortgiesen) was willing to admit that it was one of those two things,” said Assistant District Attorney Jesse King, explaining the nature of the plea agreement.
- Regardless of the weapon used, King said, jail was appropriate in the case.
- “Anytime you use a weapon on a person, that’s certainly a situation where we consider jail time. With a deadly weapon, it’s pretty much a no-brainer that someone should serve some time in jail. If you strike someone with a pipe…it can cause real damage and that’s why we take that sort of situation seriously,” King explained.
- Defense lawyer William DeNardo indicated Ortgiesen is remorseful.
- “My client obviously regrets that the confrontation between him and the complaining witness escalated to the point it did,” DeNardo said.
- When police arrived at the church, the suspect had already fled; however, the victim and several witnesses said a man known to them as Robert O. had confronted the victim with a gun, according to the arrest affidavit filed by Pottstown police officer Brooke Fisher.
- One witness claimed Ortgiesen told him he was going to “confront” the victim about dealing drugs at the meetings but the witness did not see the confrontation, Fisher wrote in the arrest affidavit.
- The victim explained that Ortgiesen got into an argument with him outside the church and the victim went inside the church. Once inside, Ortgiesen “came after (the victim) and put something against his neck” and slapped him on the back of the head, the victim told police.
- Ortgiesen allegedly told the victim: “Next (expletive) time you’re dead,” and then left the church, according to the criminal complaint.
- Two witnesses told police they saw Ortgiesen holding a gun and that Ortgiesen confronted the victim in front of all the AA members, according to the arrest affidavit. The witnesses also told police they heard Ortgiesen threaten to kill the victim.
- Fisher got a description of the vehicle Ortgiesen was in when he fled the scene, including the vehicle’s registration, and police were able to trace the vehicle to an address in Limerick.
- Limerick police responded to Ortgiesen’s residence where he was taken into custody.
- When police spoke with Ortgiesen, he said the victim “jumped him” and “threatened and punched him in the head,” police indicated in the arrest affidavit. Ortgiesen said he then went to his vehicle and retrieved a small piece of pipe, which he put to the victim’s neck.
- Ortgiesen told police he threw the piece of pipe out the window of his vehicle while driving back to Limerick.
- “They got into a verbal dispute about what my client believed the complaining witness was doing. That verbal dispute became physical and my client made the mistake of further escalating the dispute after it had initially subsided,” DeNardo said.
- Ortgiesen allegedly claimed he confronted the victim because the victim was “selling drugs to some of the AA members in the bathroom,” Fisher wrote in the affidavit. Court papers do not indicate if Ortgiesen’s suspicions were valid.
- “But whatever was happening, you certainly can’t walk up to somebody from behind and threaten them with an extreme form of violence,” King said.
- King said regardless of what Ortgiesen may have believed, he should not have taken matters into his own hands.
- “There’s no excuse for turning to violence on your own. He could have gone to police. He could have called a number of different people to rectify the situation without turning to violence himself,” King added.