2012-02-16 / Front Page

Brown Sentenced In Child Assault

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

James Brown James Brown A Big Cove Tannery man was sentenced to a minimum 15 months in a state correctional facility Tuesday for last year’s indecent assault of an 11-year-old boy.

Pushed into the courtroom in a wheelchair by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, James Edward Brown sat before Judge Carol L. Van Horn on February 14 for sentencing on one count each of indecent assault of a child less than 13 years of age and corruption of minors. Held in the Franklin County Prison in lieu of $100,000 since his arrest last September, Brown was emotional at times throughout the brief court proceeding.

Also in the courtroom to hear the final outcome was the mother of the male victim, who chose not to publicly speak but indicated she supported comments made by her husband in a written victim impact statement.

Prior to the judge handing down a sentence, however, it was noted in 1991 Brown was convicted of the sexual abuse of a minor. There were reportedly three victims in the case. In addition, this newest criminal offense would require the 61-year-old man to register and comply with the requirements of Megan’s Law for 10 years following his release from prison.

In hoping to convey his client’s efforts to claim responsibility for his actions, attorney Dwight Harvey pointed out it was Brown’s wish to proceed throughout the process without the need for the victim to be further traumatized by testifying.

“It shows he does understand the impact on the victim,” said Harvey.

Brown said in that during his incarceration he has been getting into “ministry” and working with a pastor to stay out of trouble. Brown added he was sorry for hurting the feelings of the victim’s family and apologized for taking them through this.

In reviewing comments previously made by Brown to members of the Fulton County Probation Department since his entry of plea, Judge Van Horn announced she was disturbed by the defendant’s wavering acceptance of responsibility in assaulting a child in a home where he was welcome.

The judge went on to say there would be no assurances given that Brown would be released from state prison upon completion of the minimum sentence. In turn, she ordered Brown to complete between nine and 36 months in a SCI, which will be followed by an additional sentence of six to 36 months. While incarcerated he will be required to complete sexual offender treatment in addition to any other programs deemed necessary by the prison system.

Furthermore, he will be forbidden to have further contact with the victim or his family and may only have supervised contact with any individual under the age of 18.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case by Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Michael Davis, Brown had made a Thompson Township home his residence for the last three years. The accusations against Brown emerged when a woman advised the investigating officer at the McConnellsburg barracks her son had been “sexually assaulted.”

During an interview with the male victim, the boy told the trooper on four of the occasions watching television, Brown touched him inappropriately through his clothing. Telling Brown his actions were hurting him, Brown would reportedly let go of the child, stated the affidavit.

In those same encounters, police reported Brown is accused of exposing himself to the child and asking the boy to touch him inappropriately as well. The incidents are believed to have begun on April 1, 2010, and the most recent encounter occurred on September 16, 2011.

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