Crime

Bellefonte man faces 231 child sex abuse charges

A Bellefonte man is facing 231 charges related to the alleged assaults of two children.

Lawrence R. O’Shell assaulted two children in 1998, according to a grand jury, though charges at the time were dropped due a recant of the allegations. The recantation occurred due to people “questioning whether or not (redacted) was telling the truth. (Redacted) was tired of going to court.” The child was also “embarrassed and wanted things to go back to normal.”

He had reportedly sexually assaulted a child and then another during a sleepover. One of the children broke down crying after the alleged assaults and said the assaults had been occurring for several months. The two reported the assaults and charges were filed against him two weeks later.

It is unclear exactly what occurred on the night of June 24, 1998, due to a heavily redacted affidavit of probable cause, though both children were asleep before they awoke to O’Shell allegedly assaulting them. Frightened, they each pretended to still be sleeping during the alleged assault and made small movements in hopes that O’Shell would stop, which he did.

In 2012, new evidence was reported by a witness, according to the affidavit.

A woman said that O’Shell had confessed to her after he was released from incarceration, according to the affidavit of probable cause. He allegedly told her, “I don’t know what the big deal is.” The woman felt obligated to report the conversation in 2012 due to mandated reporting training she had received.

A state trooper investigating the case also learned that O’Shell allegedly approached one of the children in 2009 in a local bar and said, “You liked what I did to you when you were younger.”

O’Shell, 59, has been charged with 33 felony counts of aggravated indecent assault without consent, 33 felony counts of aggravated indecent assault of an unconscious person, 32 felony counts of aggravated indecent assault of a child younger than 13 years old, one count of aggravated indecent assault on a person younger than 16, 32 misdemeanor counts of indecent assault of a child younger than 13 years old, 33 misdemeanor counts of indecent assault without consent, 33 misdemeanor counts of indecent assault of an unconscious person, 33 misdemeanor counts of indecent assault of a child younger than 16 years old and one misdemeanor count of corruption of a minor.

O’Shell was unable to post $500,000 bail, according to court dockets.

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli

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