Share This Page

Judge rejects proposed sentence for Leechburg sex offender

| Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

An Armstrong County judge on Tuesday rejected the district attorney's sentencing recommendation of probation for a 36-year-old man who pleaded guilty in May to indecent assault of a 4-year-old girl.

William Kenneth Brown, formerly from Leechburg and now living in Kittanning, appeared before President Judge Kenneth Valasek for his sentence hearing on the misdemeanor he was charged with committing in his Leechburg home in January 2013.

During Tuesday's proceedings, the victim's father addressed the court about how the crime affected his daughter. He paused frequently to steady his voice.

“It wasn't a one-time offense,” he said. “Every time she goes to sleep and has a nightmare, she is victimized again.”

The Leader Times does not identify children who are victims of sexual crimes.

The victim's mother testified that she knows Brown and she and her daughter had spent time at his home in the past. The affidavit of probable cause said Brown touched the girl inappropriately in his bedroom while the girl's mother was downstairs getting a drink of water during one of those visits.

“I feel like it's my fault that I didn't protect her,” she said of her daughter — who is now 6 and who was not in the courtroom.

“She's been forced to be more of an adult than a child. It's impacted our family and ripped us all apart,” she said. “I don't think the recommended sentence is harsh enough.”

Both parents said they were unaware of that Brown had been offered a deal of probation and no jail time in exchange for his guilty plea. But the family had earlier consented to working out a plea agreement to avoid having their daughter go through additional trauma at trial.

“If there is not a trial, there will be a plea agreement — you can't have it both ways,” Judge Valasek said.

After taking a short recess, the judge delayed the sentencing hearing until Aug. 26.

“I'm going to give your client the opportunity to withdraw the plea because I don't intend to go along with the plea agreement,” Judge Valasek told James Wray, Brown's attorney.

If Brown goes to trial, he will be tried on two felony charges that would have been dismissed at sentencing as part of the plea agreement. Those charges include indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age and aggravated indecent assault of a child.

Outside the courtroom, Wray said he will have to consult with Brown about whether he wishes to withdraw the plea and let the case go to trial, or continue with sentencing next month.

“Everything is pretty vague at this point,” he said.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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.