Crime

Child rapist sentenced to 50-100 years in prison

Dressed in a red prison jumpsuit, Eric Todd Crader stood before Judge Bradley P. Lunsford in the Centre County Courthouse and was asked by the judge if he wanted to address the court before being sentenced.

Crader, who was charged in February with more than 1,200 counts of child sex abuse, uttered a single sentence.

“The hardest thing and the right thing are always the same thing,” Crader said.

Lunsford then handed down a sentence of 50 to 100 years in state prison in accordance with a plea deal reached between Crader and the Centre County District Attorney’s Office in July, when Crader pleaded guilty to 213 counts of child rape.

He also was charged with 213 counts each of statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, indecent assault of a child, sexual assault and indecent assault of a person under 13.

“Predators such as the defendant, who prey upon children and manipulate them with fear, are the real monsters of some childhoods,” District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said in a press release. “We are pleased that this one will not have the opportunity to hurt another child as long as he lives.”

The abuse began in about 2011 and was reported by one of the two victims to a guidance counselor at Pleasant Gap Elementary School in May 2013, according to court documents. Centre County Children and Youth Services and Spring Township police became involved and the children were taken to a Child Advocacy Center in Northumberland to be interviewed by investigators, the documents said.

In the interviews, the victims said the abuse occurred regularly. Neither stepped forward because they were “scared” and Crader told them they would “be in trouble” if they said anything, according to the documents.

Lunsford presided when Crader entered the guilty plea and asked Crader if he committed the crimes he was accused of.

“Yes, I did,” Crader said in July.

Although Crader offered only a few words, Lunsford had more to say before imposing the sentence. He said the case still leaves him “absolutely speechless.”

Despite the “horrendous” nature of the reports, Lunsford said the most compelling document he had read was an impact statement written by the mother of the two victims.

She wrote that the abuse extended to the siblings of the abused, who had to witness them in physical and emotional pain, he said.

“There’s nothing good that comes out of this case,” Lunsford said.

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