Sexual assault victim speaks

LEWISTOWN – The victim of a sexual assault recently came forward to share his thoughts about the sentence received by the Lewistown man charged with the crime.

Either in 1979 or 1980, Harold E. Leiter Jr. was involved in an alleged incident with a then-14-to-15-year-old boy, Pennsylvania State Police Lewistown report. Police investigation ultimately led to charges of indecent assault and corruption of minors against Leiter, and on Tuesday the court ordered him to participate in the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program for the next 12 months.

According to court documents, the investigation determined that Leiter inappropriately touched a teen boy during that time frame at his residence along South Main Street, when the boy was either 14 or 15 years old.

“I’m appreciative to District Attorney (Dave) Molek and his team for backing the veracity of my claim that Leiter touched me inappropriately when I was a minor, and for publicly charging Leiter with criminal behavior,” the victim said.

The victim said he regrets that he did not make these charges earlier in his life, but he is relieved that the wider community now has specific and concrete knowledge of Leiter’s record of sexually abusive behavior.

“I’m pleased that by agreeing to ARD Leiter has finally accepted responsibility for sexually abusing a minor. I trust that he will receive the help he desperately needs to understand his criminal action and to prevent himself from sexually abusing others in the future,” he said.

“I hope that other victims of Leiter’s criminal behavior, if there are any, will step out of the shadows and bring to light any additional crimes that he might have perpetrated,” he added.

The victim said that perhaps this case will further encourage the community to discuss and plan ways to ensure the protection of its children from all who seek to abuse them with impunity.

“Such abusers are everywhere,” he said.

Leiter abused the victim during his work as a youth ministry leader at Trinity United Methodist Church on South Main Street, court documents indicate.

“Which suggests that Lewistown, its neighborhoods, and especially its churches are not immune to the presence of sexual predators. Like my former home church, churches can even act as safe havens for known sexual abusers,” the victim said.