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Gregory Zappala, the owner of the juvenile detention facility at the heart of the “kids-for-cash” judicial corruption scandal in Luzerne County, suffered a setback this week when a federal judge ruled that his insurer has no duty to defend him in a spate of civil suits.

Prosecutors have never charged Zappala with any wrongdoing, but the civil suits allege that he was part of a RICO conspiracy and was aware that kickbacks were being paid by his former partner to judges in order to guarantee that a steady stream of youths would be sent to a juvenile detention facility owned by Zappala’s company.

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