2011-12-22 / Front Page

Keefer Convicted Of Child Sex Crimes

Bail revoked; Woodrow Keefer Jr. sent to jail following trial
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Woodrow Keefer Jr. Woodrow Keefer Jr. A 64-year-old McConnellsburg man was sent to the Franklin County Jail Friday on the heels of a two-day jury trial during which he was convicted of various sexual crimes against three young boys.

Woodrow “Woody” Wilson Keefer Jr. was remanded to the custody of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office on December 16 only minutes after a jury of his peers found him guilty of six counts of rape; nine counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse;

24 counts of indecent assault; four counts of indecent exposure; and three counts each of unlawful contact with a minor, statutory sexual assault and the corruption of minors.

The jury deliberated for nearly two hours before rendering the verdict to the crowded courtroom, which heard testimony from two of the male victims, now age 17 and 24. Taking the stand for the commonwealth, the 17-year-old McConnellsburg boy told Fulton County District Attorney Travis Kendall he would spend time at the Keefer household located at 385 Peach Orchard Road when he was younger. At times during those visits, the juvenile testified he and three other boys would accompany Keefer into the wooded area behind the residence.

The boy maintained they were made to take off their clothing in order for Keefer to check them for ticks. He said as children they were instructed “not to tell” what happened on “guys’ day out.”

The boy further testified on about five additional occasions they would be taken into a locked shed on the property where Keefer would demonstrate with a stuffed teddy bear sexual acts they were to perform.

He estimated he was 5 years old at the time of the incidents that occurred between 1999 and 2004. The boy added he never told anyone about the abuse until he had a break-through at ongoing counseling. He said he was “scared, embarrassed” and thought Keefer would hurt him.

“He was very demanding,” the juvenile said of Keefer. “He could get very violent and take a hold of you and push you around if you didn’t do what he said.”

Under cross-examination by defense attorney Jeff Evans, it was pointed out the boy’s testimony had inconsistencies between both a written and oral statement given to Pennsylvania State Police investigators and what was presented in court.

The boy’s paternal grandmother took the stand as well during the two-day trial last Thursday and Friday. The woman reiterated to the court that her grandson admitted to her the abuse at the hands of Keefer. The admission occurred on Good Friday of 2010 as the boy paced about her home asking for a ride to his counselor.

A report or complaint wasn’t formally logged with state police until four months later.

Meanwhile, the 24-year-old male victim told the court Keefer was “scary.”

“He claimed to be a man of God, but he also made himself out to be a the voice of God,” the man said.

The victim said he was once disciplined by being thrown over Keefer’s shoulder and carried away. Keefer, the man said, squeezed his neck until he fell to his knees. In another instance referenced in court, the man disclosed how Keefer “thoroughly” bathed his private areas when he was 11 or 12 years old and old enough to bathe himself.

He admitted he never told anyone about the bathing incident because he was embarrassed. “I just chose not to stay the night anymore,” he said. In finally going to law enforcement authorities, the man said he wanted the police to know what happened to him so it wouldn’t happen to anyone else.

A third male victim was not asked to testify in court.

Another man, who was alleged to have been one of Keefer’s victims, took the stand, however, on Keefer’s behalf. The 21-year-old said not only did he not recall being assaulted, but he couldn’t recall seeing anyone else assaulted or raped. The man did say he remembered a stuffed bear being in the shed, but it wasn’t commonplace to go into the building.

Touching on the topic of “dirty dollars,” the man stated he thought the money given by Keefer got that nickname because the bills were often torn up or crinkled. He did not remember the money being handed out at any special occasion or event like taking a walk in the woods.

Also taking the stand for the defense was Keefer’s wife of 45 years, Beverly. Beverly Keefer said she was “totally taken back” when her husband was taken into custody by police on August 12, 2010. A search warrant was issued the following day, and police took from the residence various video tapes that revealed family get-togethers and ministry shows.

“What I understood is they (the police) were looking for anything that might have pornography on it,” she said.

She and Woody Keefer both testified pornography was only present in their Todd Township home on two occasions in 2009 when it was allegedly ordered over satellite television by another family member. Two of the Keefers’ daughters, however, countered in their testimony that they saw an itemized television bill belonging to their parents that outlined various pornography had been ordered. The purchases were made in the late 1990s.

One of the daughters said she was flabbergasted and very shocked when she saw the bill. Eventually, they spoke with their mother about their findings. Their father was not present during the conversation.

Beverly Keefer denied ever having a conversation with any of her daughters regarding the alleged issue.

On the stand Woody Keefer vehemently disputed ever having a sexual relationship with the four boys, exposing himself to the juveniles or ever having the boys in the shed for any reason. He also said he had never bought or rented pornography in his lifetime.

An assessment by the state sexual offenders board as well as a presentence investigation will be completed prior to sentencing scheduled for March. With his bail revoked by Judge Carol L. Van Horn following last week’s court proceedings, Keefer will remain lodged in prison until sentencing.

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