The couple, married for 35 years, separated before ex-judge’s corruption trial.

Last updated: May 18. 2013 12:32AM - 10467 Views
By - elewis@timesleader.com - (570) 991-6116

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Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella and his wife, Cindy, held hands when they walked into the federal courthouse in Scranton during his corruption trial in February 2011.

Unknown to many, they had separated four months earlier and were living in separate places, according to a divorce petition.

Cindy Ciavarella is seeking a divorce from the disgraced judge. She filed the petition on Wednesday in Centre County Court.

Attorney Anthony J. Lumbis of Sweet Valley filed the petition on Cindy Ciavarella’s behalf. He did not return a message seeking comment on Friday.

Mark Ciavarella was convicted by a federal jury on Feb. 18, 2011, of illegally accepting money relating to the construction of the PA Child Care facility in Pittston Township. The jury found the former judge guilty of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, money laundering and money laundering conspiracy relating to the $997,600 finder’s fee he received from Robert Mericle, the builder of the center.

It also found him guilty of honest services mail fraud for filing fraudulent statements of financial interest with a state agency and five tax counts for filing false tax returns.

Ciavarella was sentenced to 28 years in prison and has been housed at a federal correctional institution in Pekin, Ill.

The divorce petition says the Ciavarellas were married Nov. 20, 1977 in Plains Township, and their marriage is “irretrievably broken and have been living separate and apart since Sept. 15, 2010.”

The day they separated and began living in different households is four months before Ciavarella’s trial in federal court.

Cindy Ciavarella, of White Haven, and Mark Ciavarella have acquired property during their marriage and have been unable to agree on how their property should be distributed. They are asking the Centre County Court to determine how their personal property should be distributed among the two, according to the divorce petition.

It was not immediately known if Mark Ciavarella has an attorney for the divorce petition. He did sign an agreement to waive venue on April 30, acknowledging that he and Cindy Ciavarella are not residents of Centre County.

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