Crime

He’s in prison for ‘touching therapy,’ but doesn’t want to register under Megan’s Law

A former State College psychologist serving a state prison sentence for sexually assaulting two patients for more than 17 years is challenging his sexually violent predator designation.

Former Attorney General Kathleen Kane indicted Richard Lenhart, 57, for conducting “touching therapy” with the women. Lenhart then submitted nearly 700 insurance claims for more than $71,500.

He entered a nolo contendere plea, or a plea accepting a conviction without admitting guilt, in 2015.

Judge Jonathan Grine sentenced Lenhart in 2016 to three to six years at Somerset state prison, deemed him to be a tier three sex offender and sexually violent predator, ordered him to pay $71,557 in restitution and a $1,000 fine.

Immediately after he was sentenced, Lenhart told his attorney he wanted to appeal the sexually violent predator designation because the court denied his request for funds to hire an expert to assist in his defense that he is not a sexually violent predator.

Grine eventually vacated Lenhart’s sexually violent predator designation and ordered that he be provided funds to hire an expert.

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the remaining parts of Grine’s sentence, but noted that the court must be cognizant of which version of Megan’s Law applies.

The Superior Court also ruled Lenhart and Chief Public Defender David Crowley must have an opportunity to raise any constitutional challenges he may have about the sexually violent predator process and to reporting requirements as a sex offender.

Crowley and Deputy Attorney General Christopher Schmidt were scheduled to argue in front of Grine on Wednesday with Lenhart appearing via video conference, but neither happened.

“Somerset staff has been less than cooperative and terminated (Lenhart’s) call,” Grine said.

Schmidt said Lenhart’s case has a “unique procedural history” and that Lenhart filed a memo hours before the hearing. He asked for 30 days to respond to the motion, which Grine granted.

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