Advertisement

Chambersburg man enters no-contest plea in attempted rape charges

September 04, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — A Chambersburg man entered a no-contest plea Wednesday to a charge of attempted rape of a mentally disabled person.

Joseph E. Meier Jr., 57, will be sentenced Dec. 4, after he is evaluated for sex offender registration.

Prosecutors said in court that the plea agreement calls for a four- to eight-year sentence in a state correctional institution.

A no-contest plea means Meier is aware of the evidence against him and does not wish to present a defense.

Franklin County (Pa.) Court of Common Pleas President Judge Douglas Herman told Meier the plea has the same effect as being found guilty at trial or pleading guilty.

Police allege Meier raped a 32-year-old woman with diminished mental capacity. As a part-time driver for Peck’s Transportation, he was supposed to pick up the woman and drive her to Occupational Services Inc. in Chambersburg.

The woman reported the June 22, 2012, assault to her caretakers, and semen found in her underwear was tested, according to court documents.

Assistant District Attorney Steven Smith told the judge the woman’s caretakers talked with him about the plea and potential sentence. He said they did not want the woman to have to take the stand at trial.

“People assigned to care for her are extremely concerned about her involvement in this case,” Smith said.

The caretakers reported the woman was “extremely traumatized,” he said.

Meier also had been charged with rape of a mentally disabled person and indecent assault of a person with a mental disability. Under the plea, those two charges will not be prosecuted.

Attempted rape of a mentally disabled person carries a maximum penalty of 20 years, Smith said in court.

Meier’s only comments in court were short answers to the judge’s questions about whether he discussed the plea with his attorney, Karl Rominger.

Online court records indicate Meier has an extensive criminal history involving cases of theft, bad checks, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license. They also show he posted $300,000 bail in the attempted rape case.

Down the hallway from the Meier’s hearing, a trial was under way for David Joseph Gonzalez. The Chambersburg man is charged with rape in an alleged incident involving a physically disabled woman.

Advertisement
The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|