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Pa. man sentenced to 17 to 34 years for attempted rape

March 10, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - A Harrisburg, Pa., man with a long record of sexual crimes was sentenced Wednesday in Franklin County Court to 17 to 34 years in state prison for the attempted rape of a teacher at a Franklin County private school.

Douglas Paul Wingert, 40, received the maximum consecutive sentences for attempted rape, indecent assault, terroristic threats, unlawful restraint and simple assault from Judge Carol Van Horn.

"I am not going to let you out one day sooner than possible," Van Horn told Wingert. Because he is a repeat sexual offender, Van Horn told Wingert that he has to serve a mandatory minimum of at least 10 years on the attempted rape conviction, which carries a maximum of 20 years in prison.

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A jury convicted Wingert last year in a May 22, 2003, assault on a 21-year-old teacher at an Antrim Township school. According to trial testimony, Wingert drove up to the school in a delivery truck and asked the woman for directions to a local car dealership.

He then asked to use the telephone inside the school. Once inside, Wingert pulled a knife on the woman and began to grope her in a classroom, according to court records.

The woman testified at the trial she was able to break free of Wingert, but he tackled her in the hallway and attempted to bind her hands. The woman again broke free and ran into a nearby field, where she hid until Wingert drove away.

"It's by God's grace she got away from you that day," Van Horn said.

Van Horn denied a request by defense attorney Justin McShane to merge the indecent assault and simple assault charges with the attempted rape because those charges arose from the same incident. Had the request been granted, it would have taken four years off Wingert's sentence.

McShane said Wingert had a drug and alcohol problem and "a lot of this series of events unfolded because of crack cocaine." He asked the court to show mercy for his client.

McShane said Wingert intends to appeal the conviction. Because of that, he said his client had no statement to make during sentencing.

"These offenses happened shortly after his parole ... He's a clear threat to public safety," said Assistant District Attorney Nancy Meyers.

Van Horn recounted Wingert's criminal history, including convictions for slashing a 17-year-old girl with a knife in 1984 and for raping a 14-year-old girl in 1985. He was sentenced to seven to 15 years in prison for those crimes, she said.

"While incarcerated in a state correctional institute you were convicted of another assault," said Van Horn, referring to an indecent assault conviction for groping a woman in the prison chapel.

Wingert was paroled in 2002 after serving his full 17 years in prison, Van Horn said. Since then, he was convicted of the attempted rape in Franklin County and simple assault and indecent assault against a 16-year-old girl in Dauphin County, Pa., for which he is serving 18 months to three years in prison, records state.

Wingert, who could be 74 before he completes his sentence, will be required to register with police as a sexually violent predator once he is released. That means local police, neighbors schools, colleges and day-care centers will have to be notified wherever he lives for the rest of his life.

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