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Man sentenced in daughter's rape

February 28, 2001

Man sentenced in daughter's rape



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Philadelphia man charged with raping his 13-year-old daughter was sentenced in Franklin County Court Wednesday to from 10 to 20 years in the State Correctional Institution, the maximum penalty he could receive.

"Frankly, the statements you have made may be an explanation, but they are no excuse. You are here to be sentenced, to be punished," said Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Carol Van Horn.

The defendant, whose name is not being used to protect the identity of the victim, struck a deal last year and pleaded no contest to a rape charge.

Under a no contest plea, a defendant offers no defense but does not admit guilt.

In exchange for the plea, a second rape charge, and two charges of aggravated indecent assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and single counts of incest, aggravated assault, simple assault and terroristic threats would be dropped.

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The man, 33, said he had been abused as a child and only recently came to terms with his own abuse after speaking with counselors at Franklin County Prison.

"For more than 20 years I didn't love myself. Now that I have that I can go on," he said.

But the girl's mother said the man was manipulating the court.

"He is playing the system. He knows exactly what he's doing," she said.

She also detailed how the rape has devastated her daughter, now 14.

"Her behavior has changed completely. We've had to move. We have no assistance and have lost some family members and friends," the woman said. "My daughter has high blood pressure and stress that's not good for a 14-year-old.

"This is her father, the man she trusted. Now she trusts no other man," the woman said.

Sentencing had been delayed since November, when the man told Van Horn he was unhappy with the public defender assigned to him. He said he felt he had been misled about the terms of the plea, which allowed for a 10- to 20-year sentence.

Defense attorney Jim Reed, who was appointed to take over the man's case, said Wednesday his client agreed not to try to withdraw his plea.

"My client believes there was a different understanding of what the sentence would be, but he will proceed with the sentencing."

The man was arrested Feb. 12, 2000, and has been in Franklin County Prison since then.

The rape occurred at a home in Hamilton Township when the man showed up at 2 a.m. looking for his daughter's mother.

The mother was not home and the man left. He returned an hour later and threatened the girl with a knife before raping her twice on the living room floor, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

When she tried to stop him, he threatened to kill her, the affidavit says.

The man was charged after he called the mother and told her he had hurt their daughter, according to the affidavit.

Assistant District Attorney John Lisko asked Van Horn to impose the maximum sentence.

Reed asked Van Horn to consider the fact the man's sexual assessment form indicated he was not a sexually violent predator.

Van Horn said she sentenced the man in the aggravated range because of the victim's age, the use of a weapon and because he was registered as a sex offender when the rape occurred.

She ordered he undergo drug, alcohol and mental health therapy as well as sex offender treatment and stipulated he could not have unsupervised contact with minors and no contact with the victim.

She said he would have to register with police as a sex offender when he is released from prison and verify his address on an annual basis or he would face felony charges.

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