A Bellefonte man facing more than 200 charges alleging indecent assault against children was bound over on all charges Wednesday after a preliminary hearing.
Lawrence O’Shell, 59, was charged with felony aggravated indecent assault and misdemeanor indecent assault charges on May 9, according to court documents. The charges stemmed from an alleged incident in 1998 where he reportedly sexually assaulted two children during a sleepover.
Charges at the time were dropped due a recant of the allegations, according to a redacted grand jury report, due to people “questioning whether or not (redacted) was telling the truth. (Redacted) was tired of going to court.”
In 2012, new evidence was reported by a witness, according to the affidavit.
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A woman at the center of the investigation testified Wednesday at the hearing, saying she had slept over at a friend’s house the evening of June 24, 1998, in Bellefonte. O’Shell, along with the friend’s mother and younger sister, were present in the house that night. O’Shell had reportedly been dating the mother.
The woman testified that she and the friend had shared a bed, and, at some point in the night, she awoke to O’Shell touching her in a sexual manner. She told the court she was scared at first and pretended to wake up, wiggling around until he left.
After leaving the room, she said, he returned and touched her friend on the leg. When her friend kicked her leg, she said, he left.
She testified that she woke her friend to tell her what happened, at which point her friend reportedly said O’Shell had been coming in and touching her for some time.
O’Shell’s attorney, Stephanie Cooper, objected to the inclusion of hearsay evidence that consisted of “20-year-old whispered conversations.” District Judge Allen Sinclair, who presided over the hearing, allowed the testimony.
Retired state police Trooper Brian Wakefield testified to his interview of the friend in 2013, saying she claimed the assaults had been happening two to five times a week over a period of four to six months.
Sinclair bound O’Shell over on all charges. O’Shell remains free on 10 percent of $500,000 bail, which court documents show was posted on May 10.
The case now moves toward trial.