2011-09-15 / Local & State

Bail Increase Requested In Lane Rape Case

Hearing likely to be held to review incriminating letters
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Information was brought to light Tuesday in the case of alleged rapist Dennis Lane by the Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General, which hopes to see bail modified for the second time since the Hustontown man’s November 2010 arrest.

The 62-year-old Fulton County native was initially remanded to the Franklin County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail. That amount was raised to its current level of $250,000 through a bail modification hearing held March 8 by Fulton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Shawn Meyers.

Presiding over court proceedings this week, President Judge Douglas Herman pointed out during the commonwealth’s “emergency” motion for modification of bail, a modification could only be granted based on a “change in circumstances.”

Outlining both new and old facts surrounding the case, Tony Forray of the state attorney general’s office stated on July 12 Lane pleaded guilty to one count each of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, corruption of minors, unlawful contact with a minor and indecent assault. Even though the six pled-to charges carry a potential of 77 years incarceration, the court’s request was for an aggregate sentence of 11 to 22 years in a state correctional institution.

In the commonwealth’s possession at the time of entry of a plea were letters allegedly penned by Lane to a family member, Forray stated. The correspondence was obtained after a search warrant was executed at a McConnellsburg area home. It was further noted, the letters were not signed using Dennis Lane’s name but made reference to “Daddy.”

According to Forray, the letters make reference to contact needing to be made with a state prison inmate, who had previously resided with the victim’s family on a temporary basis. That inmate would in turn write to the juvenile male victim and ask him to reconsider his story that led to Lane’s arrest, Forray said. The majority of those letters were destroyed, but one was obtained from the victim for use by the commonwealth.

“It’s very clear was what going on,” Forray stated. He went on to inform the court the commonwealth did not intend on presenting those letters to the court due to Lane having entered a guilty plea and being scheduled for sentencing on October 11. However, due to recent news that officials in two county offices had discussions with a local bail bondsman on the posting of bail on Lane’s behalf, Forray stated the letters needed to be brought to light.

“The circumstances have substantially changed since March 8,” stated Forray, who requested a substantial increase or revocation of bail. “... I’m suspicious of his motivation.”

Defense attorney Greg Abeln told Judge Herman he was opposed to any increase in bail. Abeln further maintained while he had personal knowledge of the letters in question, he had not been given copies to personally review or share with Lane.

Furthermore, Abeln stated his client had testified previously Fulton County is not only his home but the home of his mother and fellow family members. Even though Lane has expressed the desire to sell his home located 476 Quarry Hill Road, the defense attorney said that is an issue he cannot address from prison. In the event he would be released from prison on bail, Lane would have to comply with a variety of requirements, including electronic monitoring; refraining from contacting the victim; and refraining from unsupervised contact with any minor under the age of 18, aside from his daughter.

Herman announced he was “deeply concerned” about possible evidence that may point to influencing the male juvenile victim, even if it involved a third party. The judge in turn ordered the attorney general’s office to provide defense attorney Abeln with copies of all correspondence to prepare for a follow-up hearing that will likely be required to determine the admissibility of evidence.

The time line for the offenses against Lane falls between September 26, 2007, and November 5, 2010. At the time of Lane’s arrest, the victim was 15 years old.

In a written statement provided to investigating officer Trooper Angela Madden of the Pennsylvania State Police, Mc- Connellsburg substation, the victim stated, “I believe I am not the only one he has molested, and I believe I am not the last. I was physically hurt, emotionally hurt, spiritually hurt and my social life has definitely been negatively influenced by him.”

“...I was just an ordinary kid and now I have memories that will never leave my head. I hope that I will be able to recuperate from this, but I don’t believe I will,” said the boy, who added he was fearful to speak out against Lane.

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