Crime

Jury deliberates on 730 child sex charges for Neff

Joseph Neff exits the Centre County Courthouse after being found guilty of all charges Friday.
Joseph Neff exits the Centre County Courthouse after being found guilty of all charges Friday. psheehan@centredaily.com

Jury deliberations have begun after a morning of closing arguments in the sexual assault trial against Joseph Neff at the Centre County Courthouse.

Neff, 36, of State College, was charged by State College police in May with 730 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 2013-14 and started when the child was 8 years old.

The trial began Thursday as jurors heard testimony from several witnesses for the prosecution, including the minor female at the center of the case, her family members and State College police. Neff took the stand at the end of the day to testify in his own defense.

Friday featured closing arguments by the respective attorneys, as Neff's attorney, Deb Lux, reminded the jury of the principles of presumed innocence and the burden of proof.

She claimed that, due to the fact Neff had not been consistently around the female and there were multiple people allegedly in the home at the time of the contact, it was doubtful as much assault could have happened as she said.

She also reminded jurors that Neff's taped admission by police was not recorded until after more than an hour of speaking with police officers, during which time Neff had claimed to have been threatened by police into making his confessions.

The prosecution argued that Neff had already admitted to several instances of inappropriate contact to both police and an ex-girlfriend who testified Friday. He had reportedly defended the female during these admissions, saying she hadn't been lying.

The prosecution touched on the emotional testimony of family members, saying they had shown no hatred but rather confusion toward someone they had welcomed into their family. The jury was also reminded of Neff's own admission to the police, regardless of his claims that he was coerced.

Verdicts are expected before the end of the day.

Check back for updates.

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