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Plea deal reached in Jeannette enslavement, kidnap case

Friday, Sept. 11, 2009

Three family members charged last month with kidnapping and enslaving a 17-year-old-runaway in Jeannette have reached a tentative plea agreement that includes jail time.

Cynthia Pollard, 44, of 310 N. First St., Apt. 3, Jeannette, along with her daughter Tabitha, 19, and son Jonathan, 20, Thursday waived their rights to a preliminary hearing before Jeannette District Judge Joseph DeMarchis as part of the agreement.

They were charged for allegedly holding the teen against her will after she left a foster home in Irwin. Police claimed the teen was struck, threatened and forced into sex acts in exchange for food and cigarettes for nearly three weeks.

The Tribune-Review does not name alleged victims of sexual assault.

In 2007, Cynthia and Mark Pollard Sr., along with their children, Jonathan, Tabitha and Mark Jr., were charged with kidnapping and enslaving 19-year-old Emily Nicely in Greensburg.

Attorneys involved in the current case said yesterday they could not reveal the details of the tentative agreement. Assistant District Attorney Chuck Washburn said, "They waived it."

However, Mark Pollard Jr., Cynthia's son, said the plea agreement reached with prosecutors would result in jail time for each. The Pollards could enter a guilty plea as early as October.

Mark Pollard Jr. told reporters his mother, brother and sister are innocent.

"I was there the whole time, and I know nothing happened, period," he said. "She knew (about the previous charges), because we all let her know. She said her name was something else when it wasn't. She just made everything up."

Mark Pollard said his brother and the victim were engaged to be married. Jonathan Pollard said the same thing as he was being led away by officers of the county sheriff's department.

"She's mad because her dad owes her money, and I stopped giving her money," Jonathan Pollard said.

According to the criminal complaint filed by Jeannette Police and Westmoreland County detectives, Jonathan Pollard, 20, met the girl at a foster home in Irwin and told her she could run away and stay at his home at 303 Clay Ave., Apt. 3, Jeannette.

Once she got to the apartment, she was not allowed to leave, police said. If the girl tried to leave, Jonathan would call his sister and mother, and they would threaten her, police said.

Jonathan Pollard was charged with rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, interference with the custody of children, aggravated assault, simple assault, corruption of minors, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person and criminal conspiracy.

Cynthia Pollard, 44, of 310 N. First St., Apt. 3, was charged with interference with custody of children, false imprisonment, terroristic threats, corruption of minors, criminal conspiracy and unlawful restraint.

Tabitha Pollard 19, of 303 Clay Ave., Apt. 6, was charged with unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, terroristic threats, corruption of minors and criminal conspiracy.

Attorney David Caruthers, who represents Tabitha Pollard, said he was satisfied with yesterday's outcome.

"I think we reached a compromise in this situation. The law is not ever black and white. That's part of the reason there are compromised negotiations, and that's what happened here," he said. "I hope she has a good life. This is a compromise. I hope she's able to get past this and do with the rest of her life what she wants to do."



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