The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania cut a $13 million dollar settlement check in November to Lewis James Fogle, a man wrongly convicted four decades ago of crimes against an Indiana County teenager. 

In 1982, a jury convicted Fogle for the 1976 rape and murder of a fifteen-year-old Indiana County girl. DNA evidence cleared Fogle in 2015. He spent 34 years in prison.

Broad + Liberty is first to report on the full amount of the settlement which was listed in a document provided by the Office of the Pennsylvania Treasurer in response to a records request for settlement payments from the Employee Liability Self-Insurance Program, or ELSIP. It’s the largest payment of its kind involving the ELSIP fund at least for the data that goes back to 2018.

The settlement appears certain to be related to a federal civil rights lawsuit Fogle filed in 2017, although neither the state nor the firm representing Fogle offered those specifics. The firm representing Fogle acknowledged a request for comment from Broad + Liberty, but then went silent.

When Broad + Liberty asked the Department of General Services, which administers the ELSIP fund, to describe the matter that resulted in the $13 million payment, a spokesperson offered very little in terms of detail.

“That payment relates to a matter widely reported upon in the press.” the spokesperson said in an email, which contained a link to a story published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

But the timeline and other details of the lawsuit align with the payment.

The next highest payout from ELSIP was an $8 million settlement to the estate of Kevin Siehl, who was also wrongfully convicted of a crime.

Yet the ELSIP fund only covers the first $250,000 of any payout.

“If the judgment/settlement exceeds $250,000, the entity (agency, board, commission, council, or General Assembly) involved is generally responsible for the excess,” the DGS spokesman said.

In this case, the DGS said the responsible agency is the Pennsylvania State Police, meaning it had to cover the remaining $12,750,000.

The ELSIP fund has come under new scrutiny in the wake of the Mike Vereb scandal that erupted in the fall. Vereb resigned as the director of legislative affairs for Gov. Josh Shapiro. Shortly after the resignation, Broad + Liberty was first to report that a former female staffer in Shapiro’s administration accused Vereb of workplace misconduct, including unwanted and lewd sexual remarks.

The accuser filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, and later settled for $295,000. ELSIP covered the first $250,000 of that, while the remainder would be paid by the governor’s office. The settlement, however, was crafted under non-disclosure agreements, which set off alarms about transparency in Harrisburg.

A bipartisan group of four state senators are currently working on a bill intended to create more transparency for those kinds of allegations and settlements like the Vereb payout.

“[T]axpayers should have confidence that their money is funding the work that needs to be done to keep Pennsylvania operating and competitive,” the legislative memo for the proposed bill says. “Hiding settlements for sexual misconduct should not be permitted.”

The spreadsheet obtained by Right to Know request has been converted to a Google “sheets” document, and is viewable here.

Todd Shepherd is Broad + Liberty’s chief investigative reporter. Send him tips at, or use his encrypted email at @shepherdreports

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