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Man sentenced in assault charge

September 07, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A man convicted of trying to sexually assault a Greencastle, Pa., woman last year was sentenced Wednesday in Franklin County Court to a minimum of more than four years in state prison.

Gabriel Majia Cruz, 25, formerly of Greencastle, was sentenced by Judge John Walker to 49 months to 12 years in prison for attempted sexual assault, stalking and simple assault. He had been convicted on the charges in a nonjury trial in February, according to Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom.

Greencastle police charged Cruz with an assault on Kate Deater, who is now a borough councilwoman, as she was jogging the night of June 7, 2005, according to court records. Police said Deater was on North Allison Street when a man stepped out from behind a lamp post and said, "Have sex with me."

Deater kept going, but the man followed her and she ran toward the police department on Madison Street. Deater said Wednesday that Cruz ignored repeated warnings to leave her alone and chased her for four blocks.

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Police said Cruz grabbed Deater and threw her to the ground. She struggled with Cruz and used pepper spray on him before people who heard the assault came out of their homes and he ran away.

Cruz was taken into custody June 8, police said. Walker gave him credit for time served from his arrest until Wednesday's sentencing.

Cruz was evaluated by the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, but was not found to be a sexually violent predator, Walker said. Nevertheless, he told Cruz that the law requires him to register with state police as a sexual offender for 10 years after his release.

"I ask the victim to forgive me for what happened that night," Cruz said through an interpreter. "I am not a bad person in the habit of doing things like that."

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