2011-11-17 / Front Page

Man Convicted In Assault On Boy

Thomas Tomlinson to be sentenced Jan. 17
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Thomas Tomlinson Thomas Tomlinson A jury convened for only 45 minutes last Thursday afternoon finding a former Mc- Connellsburg man guilty of exposing himself to and committing indecent assault against a little boy who was between the ages of 5 and 11.

The boy, who is now 15, along with his mother and extended family, hugged one another and sobbed when the jury foreman read aloud the verdict involving 41-year-old Thomas J. Tomlinson, formerly of 11 Cloverleaf Court, McConnellsburg.

Tomlinson was charged on February 15, 2011, by Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Angela Madden with 10 counts each of indecent assault of a child, indecent exposure, corruption of minors and unlawful contact with a minor. Found guilty of all 40 counts by the jury, Tomlinson will be sentenced on January 17, 2012.

The mother testified before the jury overseen by Fulton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Angela Krom that she and her husband became concerned about the boy in May of 2010 when he became “withdrawn, untidy and defiant.” Until then she said her son had been a good student and was “never the rebellious type.”

When questioned, she said the boy broke down crying and said Tomlinson had “hurt him and taken away his innocence.” Counseling began within days.

In taking the stand, the teenage boy stated when the inappropriate touching began he was “really confused.” Eventually he said he realized what Tomlinson had done “wasn’t right.”

He testified he did have opportunities to tell his mother about the episodes that occurred every two to three months. However during the first occasion, Tomlinson specifically told him he and his mother would both go to jail if he told anyone, the victim said.

Represented by defense attor- ney Eric Weisbrod, Tomlinson, currently of 1652 Richardson Drive, Chambersburg, denied accusations he was ever “mean” to the boy and noted they “always got along pretty good for the most part.” Tomlinson even said he attended the boy’s soccer games, played video games and rode bicycles, which was more than the boy and his biological father did together.

Tomlinson went on to refute any accusations of inappropriate touching and exposing himself to the child. He also noted he had very little time alone with the boy, but he “guessed” there were opportunities for these instances to occur.

In his closing statements attorney Weisbrod asked the jury to ask themselves what was said and not said. “Credibility falls apart in the details,” stated Weisbrod, who noted the victim’s lack of specific dates, times or even seasons in outlining the chain of events.

Fulton County District Attorney

Travis Kendall countered the jury should consider the bias of someone who is sharing or telling their side of a story. “What is their spin, and how will it affect them in the future?” asked Kendall.

Kendall pointed out the victim had put it all on the line through the act of remembering and talking about those six years. He also would suffer embarrassment if anyone found out it was him who was abused.

“What a shock,” Kendall exclaimed. “He (Tomlinson) denied any of it ever happening ... . He stands to be condemned by the community and his family.”

Hearing the jury’s guilty verdict, Weisbrod indicated he would be making a motion in writing asking for an acquittal on the corruption of minors charges based on the lack of evidence during the trial regarding Tomlinson’s age.

In the meantime, the judge ordered a presentence investigation report be prepared by the Fulton County Probation Department prior to sentencing on January 17 as well as sexual offender’s assessment by the Sexual Offenders Board.

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