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Donegal man accused of raping girl, 14, during walks near her home

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Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

A 51-year-old Donegal man accused of raping a 14-year-old girl, once at knifepoint, during their walks together near her Fayette County home will go to trial.

During a preliminary hearing Thursday for Jeffrey R. Ritenour of 403 Fayette St., the girl, who is now 15, testified that she and Ritenour would go on walks when he visited her home in Saltlick Township.

The girl told police that during a walk on May 24, Ritenour pushed her to the ground and pulled a knife, placed it to her throat and pulled off her shorts and panties. The girl said she screamed and tried to fight him off, but Ritenour was too strong and had intercourse with her.

“When he was done, he told me not to tell anyone,” the girl said.

The girl said she went on two more walks with Ritenour in June and July, and he had intercourse with her both times. After that, she said, Ritenour would fondle her when he went to her house.

She said after the first incident, Ritenour didn't threaten her with a knife again and never verbally threatened her.

The Tribune-Review doesn't identify victims of sexual assault.

Ritenour's attorney, James Jay Geibig, asked the girl why she never told anyone about the alleged incidents and why she continued to walk with Ritenour. She said that she was afraid to tell anyone and that she took walks with Ritenour because each time he promised he wouldn't have sex with her.

The girl said she mentioned the incidents to her ex-boyfriend in November and then spoke to her parents and the police.

Trooper James Pierce of the Uniontown barracks testified that he interviewed Ritenour, who showed him two tattoos on his chest.

One was an angel with a knife and the phrase “Don't Trust Anyone,” which the girl said refers to a nickname Ritenour had given her.

“He talked about his tattoos,” the girl said. “The reason why he got the one on his chest was because of me.”

“He stated that each time she broke his heart, he got a new tattoo or had something added to the tattoos on his chest,” Pierce said.

Pierce said that Ritenour provided a written statement admitting to sexual intercourse, but Geibig questioned whether Ritenour wrote the statement. Pierce said Ritenour told him he was too nervous to write, so the trooper wrote the statement verbatim and had Ritenour sign it.

District Judge Ronald Haggerty Jr. ruled that the charges of statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors and simple assault be held for trial.

Ritenour is free on $20,000 bond. Haggerty added as a condition of Ritenour's bond that he have no contact with the girl.

A formal arraignment has been scheduled for March 21 in Fayette County court.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media.

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