Minor testifies against Neff in child sex abuse trial

The trial of a State College man charged with more than 700 counts of sexual assault of a minor began Thursday at the Centre County Courthouse with testimony from the female at the center of the case.

Joseph J. Neff, 36, was charged by State College police in May with counts ranging from rape of a child and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child to corruption of minors and unlawful contact with a minor. According to police, the conduct had occurred from 2009 through 2016 and started when the child was 8 years old.

The female reported the incidents had mainly occurred at residences in Boalsburg and State College and involved one occasion of sexual intercourse.

During opening arguments, Neff’s attorney, Deb Lux, told the jury her client was not without fault and had admitted to touching the female twice. The incidents, however, had not happened hundreds of times over a course of years and intercourse never occurred, she said.

The female told the jury — which is made up 13 women and one man — that she had known Neff all her life and described him as an extension of her family. She testified that the incidents began as inappropriate comments and looks which eventually progressed to touching her at night almost weekly.

During the time of the alleged abuse, she also said that Neff had told her he was in love with her and had admitted to being “sexually frustrated.” A significant period of abuse had reportedly occurred while her father was ill and her mother was not around to keep an eye on the family.

She told the prosecution that she had not told anyone about his reported actions because at the time, the family was going through a lot and she wanted to do “what was best for her family.”

The trial will continue through Thursday and is expected to conclude Friday.

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