A Mifflin County man charged with felony rape of a child in Centre County was bound over on all charges Wednesday after a preliminary hearing at the Centre County Courthouse.
Matthew J. Sheffer, 35, of Port Royal, was charged Jan. 24 with 97 counts of various crimes stemming from allegations he had sex with a child, including 10 counts of rape of a child, 10 counts of rape and 10 counts of statutory sexual assault. The Centre County District Attorney’s Office added an additional three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault against a child and six felony counts of aggravated indecent assault to the list of charges prior to the preliminary hearing.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, the child claimed in an interview with Children and Youth Services that all acts took place while she and her mother were living with Sheffer in Millheim. A state police investigator testified at the hearing that the acts took place between January 2016 and April 2016.
The child’s mother testified that she and Sheffer had lived together for three years. It was around June or July 2016 that her child had come to her regarding the alleged incidents, she said, which were said to have taken place while the she was at work.
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District Judge Carmine Prestia ruled that Sheffer would be bound over on all charges, moving the case toward trial.
Sheffer’s public defender, Patrick McAreavy, argued for a bail modification, saying his client has no prior criminal history or additional crimes since the charges were made. He related Sheffer’s history as an honorably discharged veteran whose roommate relies on their combined income to remain in a home.
Prestia, however, agreed with the commonwealth’s argument that Sheffer represented a danger to the community, ruling that the $250,000 bail is appropriate.