Crime

Man found guilty of sexually assaulting a child receives sentence in Centre County Court

A North Carolina man was sentenced to 26-52 years in state prison Tuesday after a Centre County judge took into consideration his previous charges and convictions in New York and Florida.

William Velasquez, 64, was found guilty by a jury in March of one felony count of aggravated indecent assault and three misdemeanor counts of indecent assault.

The State College police investigation began in December 2017 after the department received a report of child abuse from Centre County Children and Youth Services. A then 14-year-old girl said Velasquez did some “inappropriate things” to her for the past two or three years, according to the criminal complaint filed by borough police in February 2018.

“The victim’s family accepted Velasquez into their home in a spirit of inclusiveness, trust and acceptance. Velasquez betrayed that trust and acceptance by using the family’s kindness toward him as a vehicle to sexually abuse their daughter,” Deputy District Attorney Sean McGraw said in a statement. “The victim and her family must now embark on a lengthy healing process that very well may never be complete.”

Velasquez’s criminal history began in New York, where he faced sodomy, assault, robbery and larceny charges, McGraw told Judge Katherine Oliver before the sentence was announced.

Velasquez was also found guilty in 1984 of sexual battery of a person helpless to resist in Florida — a charge similar to sexual assault under Pennsylvania law. Velasquez was sentenced to 30 years in prison, McGraw said.

“I would like to apologize to the family and to the court,” Velasquez told Oliver prior to sentencing. “I don’t think I should be here, but I’m here.”

Oliver also considered written statements from the family that were submitted before the hearing. The incidents had a “profound impact” on them, Oliver said.

She ordered Velasquez to pay more than $1,700 in restitution and register as a tier three sex offender, in addition to the prison time. He received credit for 491 days already served in the Centre County Correctional Facility.

Assistant Public Defender Beth Ramos declined to comment after the hearing.

“Over the past 46 years, William Velasquez has proven himself to be a danger to the public,” McGraw said in the statement. “(Judge Oliver’s) 26-52 year sentence will ensure that Velasquez is never again in a position to prey upon the most vulnerable members of the community.”

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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