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Man convicted of assaulting girl

June 12, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Manassas, Va., man faces up to five years in prison after being convicted Thursday in Franklin County Court of sexually assaulting a young girl.

A nine-man, three-woman jury deliberated more than three hours before returning a guilty verdict against Travis A. Corson, 29, on a charge of indecent assault, a first-degree misdemeanor.

The jury acquitted Corson on two felony charges of rape and incest that could have put him in prison for up to 30 years.

"It's still a Megan's Law conviction," Assistant District Attorney Jill McCracken said after the verdict. She said Corson will have to report his address to law enforcement authorities for the next 10 years under the law covering people convicted of child sexual abuse.

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Judge Douglas W. Herman did not set a sentencing date. McCracken said the verdict was announced after 8 p.m.

Corson was charged with sexually assaulting the girl during the months prior to his Dec. 23, 1996, arrest. The incidents occurred while he was living in the Mercersburg, Pa., area, according to Pennsylvania State Police records.

"No," Corson said to a series of questions posed by defense attorney Robert Broderick about whether he had ever molested the girl, who was 7 years old at the time of his arrest.

Corson took the stand Thursday, testifying he moved to Franklin County from Texas in 1995 after the death of his wife. He said he paid rent to the victim's parents and helped pay for renovations to their home.

Corson testified there were financial disagreements between him and the parents before his arrest.

"A lot of my money went to helping them out," he said. He estimated he paid the parents $12,000 to $15,000.

Corson said he had no records to back that claim because his ex-fiancee sold all his belongings after his arrest.

Both the prosecution and defense called expert witnesses that bolstered their cases. Dr. Earl F. Greenwald testified there was physical evidence of sexual abuse of the girl.

"It is supportive of unequivocal normality," defense pediatrician Dr. Robert Fay said of his review of a videotape of the girl's examination.

The girl, now 9, testified Wednesday that Corson molested her on occasions when he was babysitting the children in the parents' absence.

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