Meadville Tribune

Local News

May 23, 2013

Meadville man guilty in scores of sex charges

MEADVILLE — In one of the most extensive child molestation cases in Crawford County in two decades, a Meadville-area man has been found guilty by a Crawford County jury of more than six dozen charges involving sexual contact with a young boy over a more than two and one-half year period.

Chad W. Leonhart, 39, was found guilty in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas this week on 53 counts of indecent assault; 24 counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; and one count each of corruption of minors, unlawful contact with a minor and endangering the welfare of a child. Leonhart was acquitted of five other counts of indecent assault.

Leonhart assaulted the boy at various times between September 2009 and May 17, 2012, at locations in Saegertown, Hayfield Township and Meadville, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

“It’s one of the highest I’ve seen,” Paula DiGiacomo, first assistant district attorney, said of the number of assault count convictions. DiGiacomo has been a prosecutor with the Crawford County District Attorney’s Office for almost 19 years.

“The victim was totally credible in the case,” DiGiacomo said. “We’re very pleased with the outcome and the work of Trooper Todd Giliberto.”

Giliberto was the investigator on the case.

Leonhart is facing at least a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, though the maximum sentence hadn’t been calculated as yet, DiGiacomo said.

Some of the multiple counts of the same charge may merge for sentencing purposes.

Leonhart remains lodged in the Crawford County jail in lieu of $100,000 bond awaiting sentencing Aug. 16 before President Judge Anthony J. Vardaro.

Leonhart also was order to undergo an evaluation to determine if he is a sexually violent predator.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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