Crime

Bellefonte man sees some charges tossed as rape case set for trial

A Bellefonte man will remain in jail after a judge found grounds to go to trial on charges of rape and drug possession, but not as many as originally filed.

Centre County Assistant District Attorney Nathan Boob started the preliminary hearing for Frank Joseph Moravec Jr., 40, by taking 69 counts of rape by forcible compulsion and rape by threat of forcible compulsion and reducing them to 15 counts of each felony.

Moravec was also bound over on 69 counts each of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse by threat of forcible compulsion and sexual assault, all felonies, and indecent assault by forcible compulsion, indecent assault by threat of forcible compulsion, terroristic threats, simple assault and indecent assault, all misdemeanors.

A separate drug case yielded charges of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver a small amount of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and summary traffic offenses. All charges in that case were bound over.

Charges stem from a traffic stop at which Trooper Thomas Snyder found Moravec to be nervous and shaking. Snyder subsequently found the defendant to have outstanding warrants out of Georgia, and a police drug dog found marijuana under the seat of the car.

That led police to search Moravec’s home, where they found marijuana brownies, a jar of marijuana, a scale and baggies. They also found his girlfriend, who reported multiple rapes at knifepoint over a period of months.

But defense attorney Richard Settgast painted a different picture at the preliminary hearing, suggesting that the drugs might have belonged to the alleged victim, and questioned the number of counts of rape.

The victim said Moravec would become violent on a weekly basis, holding a knife to her throat until she agreed to a sex act. Only a few of those acts involved sexual intercourse, most being either oral sex or forced masturbation, leading Settgast to question the idea of forcible rape as well as the number of charges. He said his client had actually not pressed for intercourse out of concern for her pain after childbirth, leading Boob to protest about the protection of rape shield and District Judge Leslie Dutchcot to agree.

Moravec remains incarcerated at Centre County Correctional Facility, with bond set at $25,000 in the drug case, $200,000 in one rape case and $75,000 in another. The two separate rape cases reflect crimes committed in different jurisdictions, one investigated by Spring Township police and one by state police at Rockview.

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