Charges stand in Hill Crest Country Club sexual assault case
By Jodi Weigand
Published: Friday, June 28, 2013, 12:36 a.m.
Charges against a Hill Crest Country Club board member accused of sexually assaulting a female bartender at the club in March were held for court this week.
Multiple counts of indecent assault against Robert Reifschneider Jr., 54, of Lower Burrell were held Tuesday by District Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec.
According to a criminal complaint, the bartender reported the incident to police on Thursday, March 21.
She said as she was closing up on the previous Sunday, St. Patrick's Day, she went into the men's locker room to turn off the lights, announcing her presence to any man inside.
Believing there was no one there, she decided to use the restroom.
While she was in the stall, someone pushed the door open from the outside. She said it was Reifschneider.
She said Reifschneider put his hand on her genitals while she was sitting on the toilet, grabbed her breast as she forced her way out of the stall and made indecent requests.
She told police Reifschneider left the club when she grabbed her cellphone.
Police are not identifying the victim. Attempts to identify and contact her attorney were unsuccessful.
John Petrush Jr., who is handling the case for the Westmoreland County District Attorney's office, said the victim's account is credible.
“At the preliminary hearing when she testified, she came across as very sincere, very upset and very credible,” he said. “Obviously, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty, but clearly the evidence that the police gathered in the case was persuasive enough that they thought it was worthwhile to file charges. The district judge also considered the evidence that we presented to her sufficient.”
But Reifschneider's attorney, Duke George of New Kensington, said the accusations “are without any merit whatsoever.”
George claims the alleged victim has an ulterior motive for making the accusations.
“There's no doubt that it's monetarily motivated,” George said. “Based on my cross-examination of her, her story makes no sense whatsoever.”
Reifschneider is charged with two counts of aggravated indecent assault, two counts of indecent assault and one count of invasion of privacy.
A formal arraignment in Westmoreland County Court is set for Aug. 21.
Dan Merchant, general manager of the Hill Crest Country Club, said Reifschneider took a leave of absence from the club's board of directors shortly after his arrest.
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
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.
- Woman accused of assault over rap music to attend anger management classes
- Oakmont overcomes sticking points, passes budget with no tax increase
- Arnold, New Kensington residents whose water service is shut off may have additional charges