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Man enters plea to corruption of minors charges

August 20, 2003|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A New York man accused of sexually assaulting a girl he met over the Internet entered a no contest plea to a corruption of a minor charge Monday in Franklin County Court, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Anthony William Lederhaas, 22, of 1 Painted Apron Terrace, Port Jervis, N.Y., entered the plea to the first-degree misdemeanor before Judge Carol Van Horn, according to Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom. He is scheduled for sentencing Wednesday, Oct. 8.

A no contest plea means the defendant is not admitting guilt but will offer no defense.

Krom said the prosecution agreed to a sentence in the standard range, meaning Lederhaas could receive a sentence ranging from probation to nine months in prison. Lederhaas had been scheduled for a jury trial this Thursday.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Lederhaas and a 13-year-old girl met in an Internet chat room. They conversed for several weeks and he arranged to meet her on Jan. 5, 2002, in Arendtsville, Pa., in Adams County.

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The two went to Chambersburg Mall in Scotland, Pa., in Franklin County and watched three movies. During the third film, he fondled her, the affidavit alleges. They left midway through the movie and went to a Gettysburg, Pa., motel where he forced her to have sex, the affidavit alleges.

Afterward, Lederhaas dropped the girl at her grandmother's house, according to the affidavit. State police interviewed Lederhaas later that night back at the motel, the affidavit stated.

In April 2002, Lederhaas was charged with two counts each of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault and indecent assault and one count of statutory sexual assault. Those charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Although the crimes alleged were committed in two different counties, Krom said authorities agreed to consolidate the case in Franklin County for prosecution.

Because he entered a no contest plea instead of a guilty plea, Lederhaas was not required to make a statement in court admitting to any criminal acts, Krom said.

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