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Domestic counselor pleads no contest to false kidnap story

| Friday, July 11, 2014, 9:21 p.m.

BELLEFONTE — A woman who provided court-ordered domestic counseling services has pleaded no contest to charges that she falsely reported being abducted and sexually assaulted by a client.

Cindy Brumbaugh, 51, of Howard faked the report to cover up her affair with the man, Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said.

“The defendant's actions initiated a full-on sexual assault investigation into a man she knew was completely innocent,” Parks Miller said. “She was willing to see her patient prosecuted for kidnapping and rape to simply hide that she had an extramarital affair with him so she could preserve her counseling license and her income.”

Defense attorney Stephanie Cooper declined to comment.

By pleading no contest, Brumbaugh chose not to contest the prosecution's case. She didn't acknowledge guilt, though the plea is treated as a conviction.

The chain of events began when the man was court-ordered to be counseled by Brumbaugh in March 2013. Parks Miller said the two then began a romantic relationship, which came to light when both were involved in a car crash during a tryst. Brumbaugh was charged in September, a few weeks after state police said her husband found out about the crash.

Brumbaugh claimed the man had forced her to accompany him, but investigators said text messages between the two showed otherwise.

Brumbaugh cried as the facts of the case were read for the judge on Thursday.

She entered the plea after saying only, “I just don't think everything was considered.”

Brumbaugh had previously pleaded no contest to the charges in March, then withdrew the plea before she could be sentenced in May. The plea on Thursday was entered only after a jury had been seated for her trial.

She faces up to five years in prison and $12,500 in fines when she is sentenced on Aug. 14.

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