Crime

He was charged with 1,202 counts of child sex abuse. Now he will begin to serve his sentence.

A Boalsburg man charged with more than 1,000 felony counts of sexual abuse was sentenced on Tuesday to 20 to 40 years in prison.

Richard Garmat, 60, was accused by a family member of sexual abuse last year. The family member claimed the abuse began in fifth grade and continued until the minor was 15.

Garmat was charged in June with 1,202 counts, including 504 felony counts of unlawful contact with a minor, 123 felony counts of aggravated indecent assault without consent and 209 felony counts of indecent assault of a person younger than 13 years of age.

Garmat entered an open plea to all the charges in October.

Courtroom proceedings Tuesday began with a hearing on whether or not Garmat should be considered a sexually violent predator — an evaluation made by the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board. The court heard expert testimony by psychologist William Allenbaugh II, who evaluates for the board.

Allenbaugh testified that the evaluation covers a multitude of points, including the age of the victim, the mental capacity of the victim and if any unusual cruelty is present. Based on the age of the victim, he said, Garmat meets the criteria for having a mental disorder and his behavior “groomed” his victim, attempting to normalize the behavior over a span of years.

In his professional opinion, he said, Garmat met the criteria of a sexual offender and a predator. Centre County Judge Pamela Ruest, who presided over the hearing, ruled that Garmat would be classified as a sexually violent predator.

In sentencing arguments, Garmat’s attorney, Stephanie Cooper, argued that Garmat has no prior convictions and suffers a number of health ailments. She requested that he be sentenced to no more than five to 10 years.

Assistant District Attorney Crystal Hundt countered by repeating the commonwealth’s request for 20 to 40 years, saying the victim endured years of sexual abuse and that Garmat used his position in the household to make the abuse happen. The abuse also took place over an impressionable period of time in the victim’s life, she said, and that he should suffer the consequences.

The victim spoke to Ruest prior to sentencing, saying Garmat was someone “who used me, made me feel worthless and ashamed and useless to the world.”

“I will not stay broken,” the victim said, “and I will know I am healing knowing he will be held accountable for his actions.”

Ruest sentenced Garmat on the felony charges to concurrent and consecutive sentences totaling 20 to 40 years in a state correctional facility. He will have to pay the cost of prosecution, she said, not be around anyone younger than 18, have no contact with the victim and must complete the sexual offender treatment.

He was credited for 205 days already served.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews

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