Two Centre County residents were sentenced to probation Monday for their roles in a reported attack on a Penn State professor last year.
According to documents originally filed at the Centre County Courthouse, Patton Township police responded in May 2016 to a fight at Circleville Park. Penn State agricultural sciences professor John Kaminski III reported he had been flying a drone around the park when he was approached by two men and a woman who were yelling at him.
The group accused Kaminski of filming the woman, saying he was a “sexual predator,” the affidavit said. The individuals were later identified as Bentley J. Stanton, 34, and Samantha R. Stanton, 35, of Fleming; and Joshua Parris, 32, of Tyrone.
Kaminski stated Bentley Stanton and Parris began punching him, police said, and also destroyed his drone. He later reported, after seeking medical help, that he had been diagnosed with a fractured facial bone and concussion.
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Parris pleaded guilty to simple assault in March, according to court documents, and was sentenced by President Judge Thomas Kistler to 30 days to 23-and-a-half months in the Centre County Correctional Facility.
Bentley Stanton and Samantha Stanton were found guilty of selected charges after a jury trial in July, court records show. Bentley Stanton was found guilty of simple assault — bodily injury caused and harassment; Samantha Stanton was found guilty of simple assault — attempted bodily injury, and harassment.
Both Bentley Stanton and Samantha Stanton appeared Monday for sentencing before Centre County Judge Katherine Oliver. Family members for both parties had sent letters of support, their respective defense attorneys said, and their employer also spoke on their behalf.
Prosecution for the commonwealth stated that the event was a “completely avoidable act,” which could have been resolved with a call to the police. Instead, the prosecution said, a group of people attacked an innocent man based on “wild assumptions.”
In statements to the court, Bentley Stanton stated he was sorry but maintained his stance that he did not strike Kaminski. Samantha Stanton also professed her apologies to the court, saying she wished Kaminski had been present in court that day to apologize to him face-to-face.
Both were sentenced to two years probation on the counts of assault, Oliver ruled, along with the costs of prosecution, two days of community service and $2,724 in restitution. Both are also barred from any contact with Kaminski.