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Second alleged victim testifies in sex abuse trial of former Pittsburgh schools police officer

| Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 12:42 p.m.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Robert Lellock of Beltzhoover, a suspended city schools police officer, is brought into police headquarters on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012.

A former student at Arthur J. Rooney Middle School in the North Side testified Wednesday that Robert Lellock pulled him from class, took him into a janitor's closet and fondled him.

The man claimed the former Pittsburgh Public Schools police officer offered him $50 to perform sex acts, but he refused.

“I feel like I was (taken) advantage of by a police officer,” the man told an Allegheny County jury. “I feel like he needs to be punished. He knows what he did.”

The man, 15 years old at the time of the alleged assaults in 1998 or 1999, said he never told anyone until last year, when he saw Lellock on the news.

“I didn't say anything to nobody,” he said. “I was too ashamed of myself.”

Four men in their late 20s testified against Lellock this week during his trial before Common Pleas President Judge Donna Jo McDaniel. Assistant District Attorney Patrick Schulte rested his case, and defense attorney Timothy J. Kidd will present witnesses starting Thursday.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday.

Lellock, 44, of Beltzhoover is charged with crimes including indecent assault, corruption of minors, false imprisonment, official oppression and making terroristic threats.

Police began investigating in July 2012 when a former student reported that Lellock sexually assaulted him several times inside the janitor's closet in the late 1990s. The Tribune-Review does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

One alleged victim, now 28, told jurors that Lellock took him to the closet, slammed him against the wall and touched him through his pocket. Another alleged victim, now 29, told jurors that Lellock handcuffed him to a shelf in the closet and touched him over his pants.

Ronald Zangaro, the former principal of the school, told jurors he heard voices inside the closet on May 28, 1999, and walked in to find Lellock with another student, now deceased.

When Zangaro asked what they were doing, the student said they were “just wrestling.” Lellock told him they were getting ready to wrestle.

Zangaro said he notified Lellock's supervisor, and the district opened an investigation.

Pittsburgh police Detective Tamara Hawthorne said her department wasn't notified until seven weeks later and the victim refused to be interviewed, so the investigation went stale.

The Pittsburgh Board of Education ultimately suspended Lellock for 20 days.

Police charged Lellock after the statute of limitations had expired because state law later extended the time limit for child abuse and because Lellock was a public employee.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

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