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Attempted rape case moves ahead following hearing

August 13, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Harrisburg, Pa., man charged with attempted rape allegedly told police he "loses control whenever the demons come," according to a police officer's testimony Tuesday during a preliminary hearing before District Justice Shirley Shatzer.

Douglas Paul Wingert, 39, of 5225 Crestwood Drive, has been in Franklin County Prison since June 11 on charges that he tried to rape a woman May 22 at the Antrim Mennonite School, 414 Zarger Road, near Shady Grove, Pa.

Pennsylvania State Police also charged Wingert with indecent assault, terroristic threats, unlawful restraint and simple assault, according to court records.

The woman was alone working at the school at about 5:15 p.m. when a white box truck drove slowly down the road, she testified Tuesday. The truck later pulled up to the school while she was outside.

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The driver said he needed to find a Greencastle, Pa., business. The woman said she was not from the area and gave him a telephone book to look up the number, she testified.

Shortly after she let him inside to use the office phone, she said he grabbed her and put a utility knife to her throat.

"Don't make a sound, or you're dead," she said the man told her. "Every time he ordered me to do something, he said I had to do it or 'you're dead.'"

The man forced her into a classroom, told her to put her hands up against the wall and fondled her, she testified. He tried to put a cord around her wrists, but she broke free when he tried to pull off her jacket.

The man tackled her and told her to roll over on her stomach, she testified. "I can't, you're sitting on me," she answered.

When the man got off, she ran out of the building and hid in a field, she said. After he drove away, she flagged down a passing car.

"I did say, two or three times, 'Have mercy,' but he didn't seem to care," she said when asked by defense attorney Wendy Grella if she attempted to resist.

"About 15 seconds," she said when asked how long it took to pick Wingert's picture from a photo lineup.

Trooper Darren Hockenberry testified he checked with the business about deliveries on May 22 based on the vehicle the woman described, which led him to question Wingert on May 27.

After Wingert's June 11 arrest, Hockenberry testified, he denied assaulting the woman, but later said they argued over use of the phone.

Hockenberry testified Wingert then began to speak of demons and suffering blackouts. Hockenberry testified Wingert also told him he had been raped as a child and while in prison.

Hockenberry also testified that no knife or cord was ever found and, to his knowledge, the telephone book and phone at the school had not been fingerprinted.

"I would say no," he said when asked if there was any physical evidence Wingert had been at the school.

Grella argued that the attempted rape charge should be dismissed for lack of evidence.

"Clearly we have intent to commit rape here," Assistant District Attorney Nancy Meyers told Shatzer. "Only the courage of the victim prevented it."

Shatzer ordered Wingert held on all charges and scheduled his mandatory arraignment for Wednesday, Sept. 24.

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