When he was twelve years old, Gerald McCluskey won an award for excellence in the YMCA cadet Bible club. His father died of a heart attack the following year. A few months later, he and an eighteen-year-old boy from his street, Donald Pontius, were walking through their neighborhood when they noticed a young girl, around Gerald’s age, walking alone on the road ahead of them.
It was a dark winter’s evening. A light snow was beginning to fall, and there was no one around. The boys crossed over and started walking close behind the girl. She got scared and started running. They ran after her, down the hill into town. When she got to Hemlock street—where, five years before, Paul Leroy Gold had raped a nine-year-old girl—she ran across the road into a gasoline station. She was too frightened to speak to the attendant. When she thought the boys had gone, she went next door to her grandmother’s house. Her uncle, Joseph Armond, was there. He had been a sergeant in the war. He went out and found Gerald and Donald in a nearby street and held them until the police arrived. Gerald was carrying a metal blackjack; Donald had a foot-long billy club hidden in his coat. They said they had chased the girl in order to frighten her. They denied any other motive.
The boys spent a night in custody: Gerald in the juvenile detention home; Donald in the county jail. The charges were dropped the next morning.
Gerald joined the air force when he left school, in the middle of the Korean war. When he came home, he moved to Pittsburgh. There is no further record of his life.Sources: New Castle News (10 June 1947, “Awards Presented 76 YMCA Boys”; 7 August 1948, “Deaths Of The Day”; 11 February 1949, “Two Are Held By Police On Charge Of Pursuing Girl”; 13 MRCH 1952, “Enlist Three From Here Into Air Force”; 22 September 1966, “Deaths Of The Day”; 22 January 1977, “Deaths Of The Day”).