A Bellefonte man accused of raping and sexually abusing two pre-teen girls for several years was bound over for trial on 95 felonies after a preliminary hearing Wednesday.
Donald Lamey Jr., 36, was initially charged with 485 felonies after two girls — who are now teenagers — told Spring Township police he sexually abused them when they were about 5 years old.
While clutching a stuffed animal in her right hand, the younger child testified Wednesday in Centre County court that Lamey abused her “many times.” The older child testified about at least two alleged incidents.
The younger child also fielded questions from Assistant Public Defender Elizabeth Ramos about the timing of her report to law enforcement. The abuse is alleged to have started in 2008, and the two did not disclose the information until 2018, according to a criminal complaint filed by Spring Township police.
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Police then conducted a nearly yearlong investigation before filing charges.
“I know who he is,” the younger child testified Wednesday about Lamey. “I feared he would hurt my brother or my mother.”
Following the testimony of the girls and township police detective Lucas Nelson, Deputy District Attorney Sean McGraw and District Judge Steven Lachman discussed how the children’s statements should translate into specific charges.
The charges were ultimately reduced in number because it is common for a child to be sexually abused “many, many” more times than he or she can describe in detail, McGraw wrote in an email.
“In this case, the police filed a large number of charges based on an estimate by (the younger child) about the frequency of the abuse prior to the hearing,” McGraw wrote. “(She) candidly admitted that she could not remember concrete details of many of the episodes of the defendant’s (alleged) sexual abuse of her. This is quite common, particularly under the stress of testifying for the first time in open court.”
Lamey was bound over on 16 counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, 16 counts of rape of a child, 14 counts of aggravated indecent assault, one count of statutory sexual assault and 48 counts of indecent assault. He has denied the claims against him, according to the criminal complaint.
“We must maintain fidelity to seeking convictions based only on facts that we can prove beyond reasonable doubt,” McGraw wrote. It would have been “inimical to the pursuit of justice” to pursue charges “based on a speculative assessment of facts that cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt,” he said.
McGraw said each of the 32 counts of rape and IDSI carries up to 40 years of imprisonment if Lamey is convicted. The trial has yet to be scheduled.
Lamey remains detained at the Centre County Correctional Facility in lieu of bail set at $250,000.