Strattanville man sentenced in case involving young girl

By Randy Bartley

Staff Writer

CLARION

A Strattanville man Oct. 7 entered a guilty plea to two counts relating to a case involving a young girl.

Ricky Glenn Wright, 33, was initially charged with rape of a child, a first-degree felony; statutory sexual assault of a child 11 years or older, a first-degree felony; involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, a first-degree felony; sexual assault, a second-degree felony; aggravated indecent assault with a person less than 13 years of age, a second-degree felony; corruption of minors when the defendant is 18 years of age or above, a third-degree felony; indecent assault on a person less than 13 years of age, a first-degree misdemeanor; and endangering the welfare of children when the parent, guardian or other commits the offense, a first-degree misdemeanor.

According to the criminal complaint filed by Clarion state police, a known young girl on June 3 participated in a forensic interview at Western PA Cares for Kids and disclosed being physically and sexually accosted by Wright.

The victim utilized anatomically correct dolls and pictures to accurately portray Wright's actions, the complaint said.

The victim, the complaint said, was subjected to unwanted physical touching by Wright, as well as sexual assault multiple times between April 24 and May 12, 2019, in a Clarion Township residence.

The complaint said Wright participated in an interview, during which time he denied allegations of abuse toward the victim.

Wright entered a guilty plea to charges of indecent exposure and corruption of minors. Judge Sarah Seidle-Patton sentenced Wright to serve three months in the Clarion County Jail and five years on probation. The judge said she had given the case a "lot of consideration."

The cause of Seidle-Patton's concern was three impact statements submitted by the victim, the victim's mother and the victim's grandmother. Those statements were delivered to the District Attorney's Office the evening before Wright was to have been sentenced two weeks ago.

On Wednesday, Clarion County District Attorney Drew Welsh said the plea agreement was to avoid a jury trial, during which the victim could have been called to testify.

During the sentencing on Wednesday, the victim's grandmother said the victim was "not sure who she was" and "was confused about her own sexuality."

Welsh said he had spoken with both the mother and grandmother, and they had agreed the plea bargain was best for the victim.

"This is a terrible situation," Welsh said. "I am not happy with this resolution, but I ask the court to accept the plea bargain."

Clarion County public defender Jacob Roberts asked for probation for his client, citing Wright's lack of a previous record and a custody battle for his two biological sons.

Seidle-Patton said "this was not an easy case" and that Wright's actions had "impacted the victim and the community."

"There are serious accusations, but you are not pleading to those," she said. "I will accept the plea."

Wright was remanded to the Clarion County Jail to begin his sentence.

Defendant rejects plea bargain in attempted rape case

CLARION -- A Vowinckel man facing charges, including attempted rape and strangulation related to an incident that Marienville state police said occurred in Farmington Township, rejected a plea bargain in Clarion County Court Oct. 7.

The case of Brian Patrick Desjardin, 42, now goes to a jury trial.

He is charged with criminal attempt, rape forcible compulsion, a first-degree felony; strangulation, applying pressure to the throat or neck, a second-degree felony; criminal attempt, aggravated indecent assault without consent, a second-degree felony; simple assault, a second-degree misdemeanor; indecent assault without consent, a second-degree misdemeanor; and harassment, subject another to physical contact, a summary offense.

The charges, police said, stem from an incident that occurred at a Fulmer Drive residence in May.

According to a criminal complaint, police responded to a report of a domestic incident in progress at the residence at 7:42 a.m. Thursday, May 28.

The victim reported Desjardin began calling her names earlier in the morning and then attempted to have sexual intercourse with her without her consent, the complaint said.

The victim reported Desjardin attempted to attack her, and she fled up the stairs to get away from him and tried to call a family member, the complaint said.

The victim said Desjardin forcefully threw her on a mattress and attempted to engage in sexual intercourse with her, according to the complaint.

Desjardin then placed his right hand around her neck with his thumb and applied pressure to her throat, making it hard for her to breathe, according to the complaint.

The victim said Desjardin then placed a pillow over her face and performed a sex act on himself while on top of her, according to the complaint.

The victim did not consent to any of the sexual acts by Desjardin, the complaint said.

Public defender Jacob Roberts suggested Desjardin's bail be reduced from $100,000. Judge Sara Seidle-Patton said she would prefer the motion in writing and took no action.

Woman sentenced in apartment fire case

Clarion County Judge Sara Seidle-Patton Oct. 7 sentenced a Clarion woman for risking a catastrophe in a case involving a fire.

Shelly Ann Sloat, 48, was initially charged with risking a catastrophe, a third-degree felony; criminal mischief/damage property intent, reckless or negligent, a third-degree felony; and recklessly endangering another person, a second-degree misdemeanor, after a fire in Clarion Borough in September 2019.

According to court documents, Sloat was smoking near her oxygen tank in her second-story apartment on North Second Avenue when the fire broke out. Sloat, who uses a walker, was removed from her apartment by firefighters with Clarion Fire and Hose Company and members of Clarion police.

According to the documents, she suffered burns on her hands and several other parts of her body, and was taken to Clarion Hospital.

The apartment had heavy smoke damage, the documents said.

Sloat entered a guilty plea to risking a catastrophe, a third-degree felony.

Sloat's attorney, John Troese, said his client is an Air Force veteran who is confined to a wheelchair, and that she tried to put out the fire and suffered smoke inhalation. The damage was covered by Sloat's insurance.

Seidle-Patton accepted the plea and sentenced Sloat to serve six months of house arrest and two years of probation.