Indiana County victim: Follow Westmoreland judge's order, castrate man who raped her repeatedly
A woman whose sexual molester might be paroled from prison after more than two decades says he should be chemically castrated.
The victim of Samuel Powell, who is now 32 years old, said on Monday she wants him to undergo the medical procedure ordered in 1990 by now-retired Westmoreland County Judge Gilfert Mihalich in a sentence that drew national attention.
The Indiana County woman spoke Monday outside the same courtroom where Powell, formerly of Bell Township, was sentenced 23 years ago.
During that hearing, Mihalich ordered that Powell not be paroled until he underwent chemical castration.
“I still feel that he should be castrated. There is no doubt in my mind. It's all about control. If he's getting out (of prison), it should be considered,” the woman said.
Powell, now 66 and bald, with a gray beard that reaches his sternum, was in court Monday for a hearing before Judge John Blahovec to determine whether he is eligible for parole.
The state Department of Corrections has deemed Powell eligible, saying a court order signed by Mihalich lists a series of sentences that add up to 20 to 40 years in prison.
At the original hearing, however, Mihalich said he imposed a 30- to 60-year sentence.
Blahovec said he will rule later on the actual length of Powell's sentence.
Powell, a drifter who fathered eight children to four wives, pleaded guilty in late 1989 to 23 counts of rape and other charges associated with repeated assaults on the victim from the time she was in kindergarten until she was 9 years old.
According to court records and published accounts, Powell forced the girl into sexual relations and bestiality, and made her pose nude for photographs. The girl had to undergo surgery to fix damage Powell inflicted with his 9-inch-long fingernails.
The sentencing order signed by Mihalich calls for the castration.
“Because the defendant had three prior sexually related convictions, the court recommends that no furlough or parole be granted without first surgically castrating the defendant and the implementation of any other medically acceptable surgical or medical treatment which will eliminate or minimize the defendant's sexual urges or stimulations,” Mihalich wrote.
Assistant District Attorney Barbara Jollie did not mention the castration order during Monday's hearing.
She said Mihalich's intention, based on his own words at the sentencing hearing, was for Powell to serve up to 60 years in prison.
Mihalich, who has been retired for nearly 20 years, gained national attention for his stance on the Powell case, even appearing on “Larry King Live” on CNN in 1992 to defend his castration order.
Powell's victim said she would support him serving less time in prison if he consents to be castrated.
“But I shouldn't have to deal with this for another couple of years,” she said.
The Tribune-Review does not identify the victims of sex crimes.
Jollie said the castration issue has not been a consideration, as prosecutors contend Powell will not be eligible for parole for another eight years.
Debra Rush, attorney for the state corrections department, contends Powell is eligible for parole because his sentence can be calculated only from information in a written court order and not a transcript of the original sentencing hearing.
“We don't know what the judge's intention was back then,” said Public Defender Wayne McGrew.
He declined to comment about the castration issue.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 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.
- Laurel Mountain Ski Resort discusses planned revival
- Blaze guts South Greensburg home, kills 2 dogs
- Ligonier doctor’s appeal to practice rejected
- Foreign clergy mitigate shortage of priests in Diocese of Greensburg
- Pittsburgh man’s bid to delay trial rejected
- Hempfield infant fights rare disease
- Westmoreland County Transit Authority to buy 12 minibuses
- Lineup released for Greensburg concert series
- Women to stand trial in theft of drugs from Norwin Pharmacy
- Fracking foes pack zoning discussion in Ligonier Township
- Police: No leads in search for suspect in Hempfield shooting