Crime

Jury delivers verdict for Port Matilda man accused of child rape

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

A Port Matilda man was found guilty Tuesday of raping and sexually abusing two girls multiple times at a Taylor Township farm.

Nine women and three men deliberated for nearly five hours before convicting Elijah Weaver, 20, of six counts of child rape, 10 felony counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, six felony counts of aggravated indecent assault of a child and six felony counts of indecent assault of a child.

He was found not guilty of one felony count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

Two pre-teen girls disclosed in November that Weaver sexually abused them. He admitted to sexually abusing the girls during a December interview with state police at Rockview, according to a criminal complaint filed by the agency.

First Assistant Public Defender Deborah Lux denied the charges during her closing argument Tuesday, saying his statements to police were the result of “leading questions” and the girls were “coached to say more than what happened.”

“These children must be Meryl Streep if the defense wants you to believe this was an act,” Assistant District Attorney Megan McGoron said during her closing argument. “There was no reason for them to make this up.”

During the interview with state police trooper Michael Brown and Cpl. Scott Rossman, Weaver initially denied that he assaulted the girls. He later told police he was previously warned about where he put his hands on the girls, McGoron said.

Weaver then speculated it was another man who commit the abuse before ultimately confessing, McGoron said.

“His confession lines up pretty squarely with what they said,” McGoron said. “He devastated these girls. He devastated this family.”

Weaver is scheduled to be sentenced Aug 27.

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