Meadville Tribune

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January 11, 2008

Inner demons drove man to rape 2-year-old boy

01/12/08 — VERNON TOWNSHIP — A Vernon Township man is scheduled to appear in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas next month on charges of allegedly raping a 2-year-old boy.

At a preliminary hearing Friday before Vernon Area Magisterial District Judge Michael Rossi, William E. Talmadge III, 24, of 11334 Pennsylvania Ave., was bound over to the next term of court on felony charges of two counts each of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, rape of a child and indecent assault; and one count of endangering the welfare of children for alleged incidents between May 1 and July 31, 2007.

Police allege Talmadge, who is related to the boy, raped the boy while the child was in his care at Talmadge’s township residence during that time period. Crawford County Children and Youth Services reportedly initiated an investigation into the incidents at the request of the boy’s mother after the boy had made statements indicating he may have been abused and had been exhibiting sexual behaviors.

Called to testify at Friday’s hearing, she said “as a mother ... you don’t want to think about that stuff. You don’t want to believe that stuff. I didn’t know what to think at the time.”

Investigating officer Trooper Mark Russo of the Pennsylvania State Police Erie Crime Unit also testified at Friday’s hearing. He said when interviewing Talmadge about the allegations in September, Talmadge “acknowledged that he had been wrestling with (inner) demons.

“He told me he had never shared those thoughts” with anyone else, and “he said he felt terrible.”

Russo further stated that Talmadge “broke down emotionally and cried uncontrollably” during the course of that interview.

Rhonda Henderson, a forensic nurse examiner at Saint Vincent Health Center in Erie, was also called to testify. She said her medical examination of the boy showed injuries consistent with sexual abuse, and testified the boy provided her with statements about the abuse.

Talmadge didn’t testify at Friday’s hearing. Following the court appearance, he was released on $100,000 bond with the condition that he is to have no contact with the boy or any other children.

His county court arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 1.

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