Altoona man arrested in sex assault incident

An Altoona man was charged with several sex offenses after communicating online with agents posed as an underage contact.

According to a criminal complaint filed by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, agents made contact with Robert Harpster, 21, after discovering a casual encounters ad on Craigslist seeking sex with a “teen.” An agent, posing as a 14-year-old female, responded to the ad on July 8.

The agent and Harpster allegedly communicated over several days through texting, the complaint said. During the course of the communications, Harpster allegedly made several sexual remarks, requesting pictures of the female.

Harpster agreed to meet in Bellefonte on Wednesday, the complaint said. He was taken into custody off Airport Road at about 7 p.m. and taken to the Bellefonte police station.

He was advised of his Miranda rights, the complaint said, and allegedly admitted to placing the ad on Craigslist. He also admitted to posting similar ads in the past and had “met one or two other people.”

Harpster was arraigned before District Judge Allen Sinclair and charged with several felony counts, according to court documents, including statutory sexual assault and unlawful contact with a minor.

Bail was set at $100,000. A preliminary hearing is set for July 27.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews