DISCLAIMER: It is not the intention of the author to disparage, insult or otherwise slander Bigfoot or Bigfoot hunters. Any resemblance to any Bigfoot, dead, alive or currently roaming the rural communities of Northeast Pennsylvania is pure coincidence. No Bigfoots were harmed in the writing of this blog post.
For over 5 years, Vera Scroggins has been video documenting the activities of natural gas drillers and scaring the fracking pants off at least one drilling corporation – Cabot Oil & Gas (COG).
The Court Show
In late October 2013, COG brought trespassing charges against Scroggins. Judge Kenneth W. Seamans, who owns property leased for gas drilling, handed down an injunction forbidding Scroggins to be within 300’ of any COG controlled properties, even if she had the owner’s permission. This was reduced to 100’ a few months later.
In early 2015, COG hauled her to court again claiming she violated the trespassing agreement, (which she did not sign). This time Judge Seamans imposed a $1,000 fine or face jail time.
Scroggins repeatedly said she would not pay the fine and is innocent of COG’s claims.
Related: Vera: The Woman Frackers Fear
COG Needed a Miracle
COG was in a pickle. Aside from turning a 60-something year old grandmother into a celebrity with previous trips to court, now Scroggins is willing to face jail time. COG couldn’t back down and ask the fine or the injunction to be removed without losing face, nor could they allow Scroggins to go to jail and risk even more media attention.
COG needed a miracle and got one.
Less than a month after the $1,000 fine was handed down, Scroggins received notice she was being charged with 6 felony counts of wiretapping for an incident which occurred in 2013.
The felony counts were filed just under the wire when the statue of limitations on a wiretapping charge would have run out.
It is unknown at this time of any COG involvement with these latest charges.
Those felony charges were leveled against her for an incident that occurred in 2013, when she videotaped an interaction between herself and a lawyer and his secretary denying her anti-fracking group a permit to participate in a local Fourth of July Parade. Although Scroggins believes the charges against her are bogus since she was openly filming, she said she cannot afford the cost of a trial.
The deal will require Scroggins to do community service, pay a fine estimated to be $1500, and to spend a period on probation. A county judge will decide the amount of the fine, the type of service and how long a probation time Scroggins will be on.
If Scroggins is arrested during the period set for her probation — which could be up to one year — the deal could be revoked. Scroggins sees the case against her as a continued campaign of intimidation waged by Cabot Oil and Gas and the local government.
I’m Like Bigfoot
COG created a form letter designed in a manner to give the impression they were written by property owners who have leased to COG. COG has compiled approximately 52 of these form letters over the past 2 years.
The form letters contain no address, just the name of the property and parcel number, which forces Scroggins to go to the courthouse and look up the information or risk violating the injunction from stumbling near the property.
As Scroggins explains, these form letters have led to a rash of Vera sightings and compares it to Bigfoot sighting reports. (See: Vera Scroggins, Anti-Fracking Activist on the Injunction Against Her at the 5:27 mark)
In one instance, a grainy photo of something in the distance of a COG controlled property had a big “X” marked on it. Attempts to enlarge or otherwise determine what or who was marked with the “X” failed.
The information which accompanied the photo was sparse with just a general location of where the supposed sighting occurred. When Scroggins and her lawyers were able to obtain more information, it was learned that Scroggins has never been to that property, nor does she or the property owners know each other.
We have no information if grey-haired women are rushing to salons to have their hair dyed, or if home-dye kits are flying off the shelves as a way to avoid being reported to COG as a Vera Sighting.
Please note: The supposed Vera Sightings so far have been limited to the Northeast Pennsylvania and Susquehanna County areas. Reports of Vera seen in Texas, or having lunch with Elvis have not been verified.
However, Bigfoot was seen sitting on a bench with Ronald McDonald.
Meanwhile, we are wondering if COG will be publishing a “Where’s Vera” puzzle book.
© 2015 by Dory Hippauf