A man charged with multiple counts of child rape withdrew a no-contest plea Tuesday prior to sentencing.
Austin H. Ronk, 20, of Rebersburg, was charged December 2015 with 75 counts for the alleged rape of an 8-year-old, including counts of rape, deviate sexual intercourse and aggravated indecent assault. He was bound over on all charges shortly after.
Ronk appeared for sentencing Tuesday before President Judge Thomas Kistler at which time his public defender, Casey McClain, announced his client wished to withdraw his no-contest plea.
Kistler informed Ronk that the recommended sentence through the commonwealth is 30 to 60 years. Should the case go to trial, Kistler said, the minimum mitigated sentence he would be facing would be 156 years.
Kistler also reminded him that the police are in possession of incriminating statements by Ronk that could harm his chances at trial.
Ronk stated that he was not satisfied with the service of his counsel, adding that he was suffering from chest pains when he made statements during a polygraph and "would have said anything to get out of there."
Kistler ordered that Ronk be appointed a new public defender. The commonwealth has 10 days to respond to the no-contest plea; Kistler will make a decision once the response has been made.