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Man is sentenced on indecent assault charge

June 13, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -An abused child who grew up to be a child abuser, Luke Feitner will have the designation of sexually violent predator follow him for the rest of his life.

Feitner, 29, of 5842 Tick Ridge Road in Waynesboro, Pa., was sentenced to 31/2 to 10 years in state prison and will be subject to the community notification of Pennsylvania's version of Megan's Law as long as he lives.

"He was on parole for a substantially similar event when this event occurred," Assistant District Attorney Nancy Meyers told Judge John R. Walker prior to sentencing. She had asked that Feitner be sentenced in the aggravated range, with a minimum of 41/2 years behind bars.

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Assistant Public Defender Deborah Hoff noted her client's troubled childhood, including alcoholic parents and a father who died from cirrhosis of the liver when his son was 3 years old. Feitner's stepfather, she said, "was involved in unspeakable acts forced upon him and his siblings."

The abuse was both physical and sexual, according to Hoff.

Feitner's previous conviction was for indecent assault in Potter County, Pa., according to court records. Hoff said later Feitner was on probation, not parole, at the time he was arrested for sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl at his home in 2002.

Feitner pleaded no contest to aggravated indecent assault on Jan. 8 and, after a review by the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, he was designated a sexually violent predator during a brief hearing before Walker last week.

Hoff argued that Feitner's circumstances were very similar to those of Shawn Paul Lesher, 22, no fixed address, also designated a sexually violent predator, who was sentenced last week to two to 10 years in prison for aggravated indecent assault against a 15-year-old girl in 2001.

Meyers noted that Lesher's sentence had been part of the plea agreement reached between the prosecution and his defense attorney. She said Feitner had violated his probation on the indecent assault charge by possession of pornography and being alone with minors in the past. She said he also poses a serious threat to molest minors after his release.

"He understands he has a mental health problem and he doesn't want it to happen again," Hoff said. She said Feitner was remorseful for his acts, contrary to the pre-sentence report.

Walker told Feitner he should know better than anyone the harmful effects of child sexual abuse.

"You're passing it on from one generation to another," the judge said. "It's one thing to be remorseful, but we've got to protect society."

Under Megan's Law, Feitner must register with local police wherever he lives after his release for the rest of his life. Failing to do so will result in his being prosecuted for a felony and the possibility of life in prison, Walker told him.

Neighbors, public and private schools and day-care centers will be notified whenever Feitner moves, according to the law.

In addition to his prison sentence, Walker fined Feitner $300 and ordered him to have his DNA registered with the state at a cost of $250. He also must continue mental health and sexual offender treatments.

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