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Valley News Dispatch

Brackenridge man to stand trial on child rape charges

| Thursday, June 14, 2018, 12:06 p.m.
Robert S. Boreland
Allegheny County Jail
Robert S. Boreland

Robert S. Boreland, clad in the red jumpsuit and rubber shoes provided to him by the Allegheny County Jail, his hands clasped and shackled before him, said nothing during his preliminary hearing Wednesday.

His gaze stayed forward, his face remained expressionless, as a 15-year-old girl told the court Boreland raped her in 2009, when she was 6 years old.

District Judge Carolyn Bengel, her Brackenridge court cleared to ease the victim's testimony, twice asked the public defender representing Boreland if the accused was sure he wanted to proceed with a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

“Yes, your honor,” John Hempel, assistant public defender, said. “We're sure.”

Boreland, 63, of Brackenridge is facing seven felony charges, including rape of a child. Those charges were held for court by Bengel after the victim, at times so overcome with emotion she couldn't respond to questions, detailed what she says occurred the night of Oct. 15, 2009.

Police say they learned of Boreland's alleged crimes in May of this year, when the victim told a person who is a mandatory reporter under state law that a man had raped her in 2009.

The victim told police, and said again during testimony, that she remembered the date exactly because it was also the day her mother died.

Boreland again assaulted her two weeks later, the victim testified. She said, during both occasions, he was so drunk he could barely stand.

Boreland, according to court documents, agreed to speak with police about what had happened almost 10 years ago.

Boreland told police deaths among his family and friends had led him to heavy drinking. He told police at times he was so desperate for alcohol he would drink gasoline when he ran out of beer. Police say Boreland's children were removed from his home several years ago as a result of his alcoholism.

Boreland also told police, according to court documents, that he remembered some of that night in 2009, but couldn't remember any details.

“I was drinking a lot and something could have happened,” he told police, according to court documents. “It is possible it could have happened.”

Police say Boreland told them he wasn't denying the victim's accusations.

Boreland, in 1982, pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges, he told police. Boreland's name does not appear on a list of registered sex offenders provided by the state police.

Boreland is currently housed in the Allegheny County Jail ahead of an as yet unscheduled formal arraignment. District Judge Anthony Ceoffe denied bail for Boreland during a preliminary arraignment on May 31.

Matthew Medsger is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4675, or via Twitter @matthew_medsger.

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