Washington Twp. man again pleads guilty to 5 years of sex assault
A Washington Township man will serve at least eight years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to sexually assaulting a girl for five years.
Westmoreland County Judge Rita Hathaway said Paul Frank Katonka dodged a “much lengthier” sentence that would have been meted out had a jury convicted him of the crimes.
“This court would be sentencing him to a period far greater than this,” Hathaway said.
Katonka, 35, was sentenced Monday to serve eight to 16 years in a state prison followed by 19 years of probation.
It was the second time he pleaded guilty and was sentenced in the case.
Judge Debra A. Pezze accepted a plea agreement in September 2008 and sentenced him to 10 to 20 years in prison followed by 15 years of probation.
Pezze later rejected Katonka's bid to withdraw the plea.
The state Superior Court overturned Pezze's ruling. Katonka was allowed to withdraw his guilty plea after a December 2011 hearing.
Katonka has had several attorneys since his arrest on Feb. 29, 2008, for sexually abusing the girl between 2003 and 2008, starting when she was 8 years old.
The victim, now 18, previously said she would testify against the defendant but later recanted her story, Assistant District Attorney Judy Petrush said.
“I do know that everyone wants to have this resolved,” Petrush said.
Katonka, represented by court-appointed attorney Jim Silvis, asked Hathaway for time to hire a private attorney, but she refused.
“I'm not going to grant that since this has gone on long enough,” Hathaway said.
The judge said Katonka could either accept the plea deal offered by prosecutors or go to trial next week.
Katonka pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted rape, three counts each of aggravated indecent assault and indecent assault, six counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and single counts of endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors.
“I've been married for 15 years, I have five ... children who I do really miss and love,” Katonka said. “I'm just trying to get back to my family.”
He was ordered to not have contact with the victim or any child, except supervised visits with his own children. An evaluation will be held to determine whether he should be classified as a sexually violent predator.
Pezze previously determined Katonka to be a sexually violent predator, but he requested another evaluation because he didn't participate in the first.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.