Barnhart Sentenced To State Time
“It can’t be brushed under the rug anymore. It has to stop,” said the juvenile victim’s mother as part of last week’s sentencing proceedings for McConnellsburg resident Roy Grover Barnhart.
The 71-year-old McConnellsburg man was recently found guilty of indecent assault of a child less than 13 years old and the corruption of minors during a jury trial at the Fulton County Courthouse. On Friday morning, standing before retired Judge Robert J. Eby, Barnhart offered no comment in addition to those provided by defense attorney Timothy Barrouck.
Barrouck pointed out his client did time for a similar offense in 2008 and also completed counseling as well as supervision without any new charges or offenses occurring since that time. The attorney stated the offenses outlined in the more recent set of charges, filed in March 2013 by Pennsylvania State Police in McConnellsburg, reportedly occurred prior to the 2008 arrest.
The defense attorney went on to add that due to his client’s age, Barnhart suffers from a variety of health maladies and is on six different medications.
Given the circumstances, the defense was in support of a sentence, such as a total of six months, that would fall on the lower end of the standard sentencing range. A six-month sentence would only be one extra month than what Barnhart served for the 2008 offense.
Fulton County District Attorney Travis Kendall countered he did not support the recommendation laid out in the presentence investigation report and suggested 18 months incarceration. Kendall made reference to protection for the public and victim as well as rehabilitation for the Barnhart as outlined in in the sentencing code.
He also said while the community will be made aware and learn what happened, Barnhart’s family still does not seem to believe it. “He will continue to be a threat to children he may come in contact with because they don’t believe,” he concluded.
Adding to Kendall’s comments, the victim’s mother said what Barnhart has done to her family cannot be explained through a letter. She said she once considered the Barnharts her family, and his 2008 sentence of five months was a slap on the hand in the eyes of her family.
“Someone needs to stop him from doing this to other children,” she said. The woman’s 15-year-old daughter testified during a recent jury trial she was between the ages of 5 and 9 years old when the incidents occurred at a green house on Peach Orchard Road and later at Barnhart’s newest residence in Gerald Circle. She said at the time she shared a room with her sisters at the homes and would occasionally spend the night.
She stated on almost a daily basis Barnhart would touch her inappropriately while sitting in his chair. She added she would routinely get into trouble and had to read a book on manners while sitting on his lap.
She further testified that she never yelled out for help, but was assured by Barnhart that it was OK and she shouldn’t tell anyone.
Taking into consideration the comments in court Friday as well as the presentence report and 17 letters from the community, Judge Eby said many of the letters referred to Barnhart as a great role model, a good grandfather who was loving, caring and would never hurt anyone.
Eby said it was a kind, gentle grandfather who violated the trust. “This was not just a random victim,” Eby stated. “The people involved put him in a position of trust. He betrayed that trust to satisfy his own desires.
As part of the sentence handed down in the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas on December 13, Barnhart will complete between 18 months and nine years in a state correctional institution. He is forbidden to have any contact with the victim and her immediate family or any contact with anyone under the age of 18 years old. He is also required to continue his registration with Megan’s Law as a sexual offender.