Trial begins for Port Matilda man accused of raping two young girls

The Centre County Courthouse on Nov. 1, 2018.
The Centre County Courthouse on Nov. 1, 2018. Centre Daily Times, file

The trial for a Port Matilda man accused of raping two young girls multiple times at a Taylor Township farm began Monday and his lawyer argued his statements to police stemmed from “a lot of suggestive questioning.”

Two pre-teen girls disclosed their experiences with Elijah Weaver, 20, in November and said “something bad had happened” between them, according to a criminal complaint filed in December by state police at Rockview.

Family members began questioning the girls about what they told police and First Assistant Public Defender Deborah Lux argued their parents were “hounding” them for information.

“There was a lot of questioning going on,” Lux said. “I suggest to you, it was a lot of suggestive questioning.”

Weaver was interviewed by police for about one hour in December and Lux told the jury of nine women and three men that Weaver denied doing anything wrong.

“Things aren’t necessarily cut and dry,” Lux said. “Elijah Weaver did not commit these acts.”

The Mount Nittany Health Children’s Advocacy Center in Bellefonte on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. Abby Drey

As the interview continued, Weaver said his actions were “misinterpreted” by the girls and that he was their “No. 1 guy,” according to Assistant District Attorney Amanda Chaplin. Weaver also said he gets “urges” when he is around them, she said.

Weaver later admitted to having sexual intercourse with the girls, according to the complaint. Both the girls’ and Weaver’s interviews were recorded visually and audibly and are expected to be played during the trial.

“They know what happened to them was wrong, but they have difficulty explaining what happened to them,” Chaplin said of the girls’ interviews. “You are going to see her fear and her pain.”

Weaver is charged with six felony counts of rape of a child, 11 felony counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, six felony counts of aggravated indecent assault of a child and six felony counts of indecent assault of a child.

The trial is scheduled to conclude Wednesday.

Bret Pallotto primarily reports on courts and crime for the Centre Daily Times. He grew up in Lewistown and graduated from Lock Haven University.