LEWISTOWN - About a dozen supporters of a sexual assault victim appeared in court Friday to watch the accused, William Ross Sr., 66, receive his sentence of six to 18 months in the Mifflin County Correctional Facility.
Ross had been charged in two separate cases, both involving female juveniles who accused him of touching them in an inappropriate manner on a routine basis. One of the cases, which involved a now 14-year-old victim, was dismissed under a plea agreement.
Ross previously pleaded guilty to indecent assault in connection with the sexual abuse of a now 20-year-old female, when she was 11 or 12 years old, court documents indicate.
A cousin of the victim read a brief statement to the court, whereby she outlined how the victim has "suffered' in attempting to deal with what has happened to her. She further described "sleepless nights" and bouts of depression over the years, but ended the statement with "starting today, I am no longer a victim of your crime."
Ross's supporters also spoke and said he was a good man. They asked the court not to incarcerate the defendant.
Ross spoke as well and turned to the victim's family and apologized "for all the hardship and suffering," but he never said anything directly regarding the allegations brought forth against him. Instead, Ross described the hardships he has endured in the past several years, such as losing his "soul mate," two siblings and a house.
Ross's attorney, Steve Snook, said this was a very difficult case.
"One of the most difficult cases in 30 years of practicing law," he said.
Snook said his client never believed the touching was sexually motivated, but the victim does. Snook also asked the court not to incarcerate his client and instead put him under house arrest.
Mifflin County District Attorney Dave Molek said he spoke with officials at the MCCF who informed him that they could accommodate Ross's medical issues.
President Judge Dave Barron informed Ross of his responsibility to register under Megan's Law for the rest of his life, prior to sentencing him.