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Acting police chief arrested during Rachael DelTondo investigation appears in court

ALIQUIPPA, Pa. — Joe Perciavalle has not reported to work since the beginning of June, but he did show up to court on Tuesday with his attorney.

Perciavalle was acting Aliquippa police chief for a day before detectives arrested and charged him with sending a sexually explicit video to a minor.

That minor is an Aliquippa police sergeant’s daughter and a key witness in the Rachel DelTondo murder investigation who was with DelTondo the night she was murdered.

Lauren Watkins, now 18, told Channel 11 she was in court Tuesday to testify for the defense.

"The Watkins family is fed up with this issue. They did not want to proceed with this. As a matter of fact, their witness, Lauren, who (the prosecution) believes is the victim in this case, will testify that she was threatened -- that if she did not cooperate, they were going to arrest her father," Perciavalle's attorney Steve Townsend, said.

The district attorney would not comment on that allegation.


Channel 11 learned Watkins' father, Sgt. Ken Watkins, who was put on paid leave right after the murder because of his daughter's involvement in the investigation, has been back on the job for almost two weeks.

Detectives seized Lauren Watkins' phone in connection with the murder investigation and found the video they said was sent by Perciavalle .

Townsend told Channel 11 his client is friends with the family and would never hurt them.

"He has done nothing wrong. I think once we have the hearing is when we clear, it's going to be quite clear, that this is politically motivated," Townsend said.

Perciavalle’s hearing was continued Tuesday.