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Charges Expected for Crane Operator in Philly Building Collapse

Criminal charges are coming in connection with the Philadelphia building collapse that leveled a Salvation Army storefront and killed six people in the process. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that authorities will charge the 42-years-old operator of the crane that started the disastrous cave in with six counts of involuntary manslaughter and with one count of risking and causing a catastrophe. Toxicology reports allegedly reveal that the man, Sean Benschop, had enough marijuana in his system to impair his job-related duties. Other charges could come down against the man, who’s also used the name Kary Roberts, regarding the other people injured in the incident who managed to survive.

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Are We Blaming the Right People?

While federal regulations prohibit the operation of a commercial vehicle while under the influence of any drug, there seems to be little to no regulation at the city or state level for operating an excavator. That’s the type of machine Benschop was allegedly operating when he removed a beam in the run-down four-story building just minutes before the collapse.

 This man may have some level of culpability with regard to the terrible tragedy last week, but he’s far from the only one who stands to face punishment. Reports from multiple outlets indicate the building’s owner, Richard Basciano, paid a discount demolition crew just $10,000 for a job that industry experts contend should’ve cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. A man with a criminal record of fraud heads the crew he hired. To blame a middle-aged man for the entirety of the tragedy seems a bit excessive, but not uncommon. Prosecutors want to go after the man with the smallest wallet who may not be able to fend off a slew of criminal charges with the same level of effectiveness as the rich man who owns the property and who is responsible for hiring the demolition company.   

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Remaining Silent is a Frustrating but Effective Choice

Editorial stories all over the place call for Basciano to issue a more detailed public statement and to answer questions directly from the media. Let’s be honest, that’s not going to happen. The legal teams surrounding that man are working overtime to insulate him from the public eye and to develop a rigorous defense to fend off the lawsuits that are no doubt coming.

There’s no love lost between residents of Philadelphia and Basciano, a reported slumlord and one-time porn king of Times Square in New York City. Should any of his claims of negligence surrounding the building collapse end up in front of a jury, he’ll likely get his checkbook nailed to the proverbial wall. Negligence, I mean real carelessness, has a way of galvanizing communities against those who would use them for profit and gain at all costs.

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Pennsylvania, you have the right to the best possible defense team working on your behalf to clear your name and dismiss the charges. Contact our law offices today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers. We make jailhouse visits any time of day or night.



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Learn what to do if you have been stopped for DUI/DWI.

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If this is your first DUI offense, you may be eligible for ARD.



Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)

Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.


Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)

Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.


Commonwealth v. "S"

Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.


State of New Jersey v. "H"

Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.


We have decades of experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors, and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Anyone facing charges involving a criminal offense can expect to experience a heightened degree of emotional turmoil, for themselves, as well as their family members. Our team of highly qualified criminal law attorneys and expert legal support staff are committed to providing each of our client’s with the compassion and understanding they deserve, as well as an aggressive plan for representation at an affordable price.

As former prosecutors, we have a balanced and in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system and how the prosecution prepares cases. In addition, we have long-standing experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

At Young, Marr and Associates, when we say “experience matters,” we mean it. Our lawyers, which include two former prosecutors and a former senior deputy district attorney bring more than three decades of criminal law experience, handling more than 10,000 criminal cases. It is precisely that experience that allows us to achieve outstanding results for our clients facing DUI, traffic, felony and misdemeanor charges in state, federal and juvenile courts.