2012-03-29 / Front Page

Lane Sentenced In Sex Crimes

Ordered to 11 to 22 years in state prison
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Dennis Lane Dennis Lane Sentencing of a Hustontown man accused of sex crimes against a young boy was delayed slightly Thursday afternoon in order for court officials to determine whether he should be listed through Megan’s Law as a sexually violent predator.

Herbert Hays, an expert witness on behalf of the commonwealth, testified before Fulton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Carol L. Van Horn on March 22 as to the process of making a sexually violent predator determination in the case of 63-year-old Dennis Eugene Lane.

Hays stated he reviewed documents such as Pennsylvania State Police reports, affidavit of probable cause, civil action report and a report prepared by Fulton County Services for Children. At the request of Lane and defense attorney Greg Abeln, Hays was not permitted to interview the defendant in the case.

In reviewing his findings with the court, Hays stated initially Lane chose this particular child when the boy was 11 years old. The boy would come to Lane’s house located at 476 Quarry Hill Road under the pretense of helping with firewood.

“Even the child wondered why he was chosen given his stature,” said Hays. “It’s important that in records it states this was not something the boy wanted to do, and he was scared of Mr. Lane.”

Even more significant to the case, Hays stated, is the “persistence” as the acts committed occurred over several years on multiple occasions. Hays added it showed a “plan and pattern.”

Hays noted he reviewed other state police documents that indicated additional allegations of the same nature emerged against Lane in 2003 and 2004. Charges were not filed in those cases.

Hays concluded there is no cure for conditions such as pedophilia, and they are “lifetime conditions.” Due to the mental abnormality, the possibility of recidivism is “likely,” he said.

Prepared with their own expert witness, the defense called psychologist Dr. Stanley Schneider of Camp Hill to the stand. Hays’ findings were assessed by Dr. Schneider, who reportedly sat down with Lane on two occasions.

Lane was diagnosed by Dr. Schneider as having anxiety issues as well as post traumatic stress disorder. In addition, Schneider said he learned through the interview process that as a child Lane was abused by his babysitter. The court also heard about Lane’s personality, failed marriages, military background and time spent as a youth camp counselor.

Schneider agreed with a diagnosis related to a lifetime condition of pedophilia, but noted Lane has exhibited the ability to self control or self manage the condition. That is evident, Schneider said, as Lane has had contact with children over the years without incident.

Under cross-examination by Tony Forray of the state attorney general’s office, however, Schneider changed his “opinion” of the case. On the stand, Schneider reviewed state police reports where Lane referred to instances involving other male juveniles. Lane allegedly referenced seeing a boy naked and inappropriately touching a juvenile through his clothing. The boys were only referred to in court proceedings by their initials.

“Based on what the Pennsylvania State Police report says. I would say he is a sexually violent predator,” said Schneider. “Although there is no indication of how old Lane was when these occurred.”

Van Horn confirmed Lane would be designated as a sexually violent predator and require lifetime registration through Megan’s Law. “We have heard very clear and convincing evidence ... . ” she said.

Forray said in reading the presentence investigation report prepared by the Fulton County Probation Department he was “repulsed and disgusted” by Lane’s statements blaming the victim for the sexual activity. “He’s truly not accepting responsibility,” Forray stated.

Meanwhile, Van Horn took the opportunity to read aloud a brief written statement prepared by the boy’s mother. The woman said Lane hurt her son and their family. She said they included him in family outings and placed their trust in him that he was taking good care of their son.

“We hope people will stop hurting children ... .” she said.

Lane in turn expressed a “heartfelt apology” to the victim and his family. He said things didn’t start out to be a situation like this, and he was sorry it had come to this point. “I’m just so sorry I hurt him ... I just wish him the best,” he concluded.

The judge countered even though Lane had accepted responsibility from a legal standpoint, she said that after reading his comments regarding his account of the events she did not believe he was accepting responsibility. She said Lane gave the impression the victim, who was between 12 and 15, was to blame while he was between 58 and 62.

“Consent isn’t a word that enters into this equation,” said the judge, who added there is a need here for treatment and isolation from society.

In connection with guilty pleas to rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with a minor, statutory sexual assault, corruption of minors and indecent assault, Lane was ordered to complete between 11 and 22 years in a state correctional institution. Credit was granted for time served since November 16, 2010. Furthermore, Lane is not permitted to have contact with the victim and his family or unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18.

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