ShareThis Page
Westmoreland prosecutors appeal judge’s evidence rulings in alleged rape case | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Westmoreland prosecutors appeal judge’s evidence rulings in alleged rape case

Rich Cholodofsky
755919_web1_GavelNewN

Westmoreland County prosecutors have appealed a judge’s ruling that limited the evidence they can present in the trial of a Hempfield man accused of raping a woman who has since recanted the allegations.

Assistant District Attorney Barbara Jollie contends Common Pleas Court Judge Tim Krieger made five errors that substantially handicap the case against Harold Franks, 36, according to documents filed Friday.

The judge last month ruled that statements the woman made to police and medical personnel detailing the alleged sexual assault could not be used. Krieger also barred evidence that Franks had committed other potentially criminal violent acts and testimony that his alleged victim had previously obtained a protection of abuse order against him.

Jollie also wants the appeals court to reverse Krieger’s accepting as a fact in the case that Franks and the woman regularly engaged in rough consensual sex that involved one or both participants being struck. The judge’s finding would serve as evidence that prosecutors would have a tough time refuting, Jollie said in the appeal.

“Credibility is an issue for the jury, and the question for the jury is whether assault crimes occurred,” Jollie said.

Franks has denied the rape allegations. His alleged victim has since recanted, refused to testify, claimed no sexual assault occurred and said that she was drunk when she first spoke to police in October 2017.

The Tribune-Review does not identify alleged victims in cases of alleged sexual assaults.

Franks trial, which was scheduled to begin March 11, is likely to be postponed because of the prosecution’s appeal.

Franks has been in jail since his $125,000 bond was revoked in September. Defense attorney Heidi Norton has asked that Franks be released on a nominal bond, claiming prosecutors violated his right to a speedy trial. Krieger said he will hold a hearing next month on that request.

Separate criminal cases, including one for suspected drunken driving, are still pending against Franks.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: News | Westmoreland
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.