Jury acquits man of charges

LEWISTOWN – A Mifflin County jury deliberated for less than 30 minutes before acquitting John T. Loner of rape and other related offenses stemming from allegations he sexually abused a now 14-year-old girl over a period of several years.

Loner, 44, was acquitted of two counts each of rape and aggravated indecent assault, along with statutory sexual assault, sexual assault and indecent exposure.

Loner’s attorney, Christopher Torquato, said he would like to thank the jury for considering the facts of the case and rendering a decision based on consideration of the evidence.

Mifflin County District Attorney Dave Molek said the jury decided the credibility of the witnesses.

During the course of the trial, several people testified in Loner’s defense, including the defendant himself.

Loner categorically denied ever hurting the alleged victim and said she was mad at him and made up a story about the alleged assaults.

Torquato also called three of Loner’s children to testify, Cory, Sky and Cody Loner, two of whom the alleged victim said witnessed the defendant assaulting her.

The alleged victim testified that Cory and Sky Loner witnessed an assault, but they later testified they had never witnessed such an event.

Additionally, Cody Loner testified that if he had seen or heard anything about the alleged victim being sexually assaulted by the defendant, he would have reported it to someone.

The alleged victim testified Loner sexually assaulted her from the time she was in kindergarten until she was in sixth grade.

Several times during her testimony she broke down and began crying. She testified she was assaulted more than 100 times at a Freedom Avenue residence in Burnham.

During Torquato’s closing arguments he called into question the credibility of the alleged victim and what he felt were inconsistencies in her testimony.

Torquato also said the investigation did not go far enough and the prosecution failed to interview other potential witnesses.

Molek closed by stating credibility was the bottom line in this case and the alleged victim was a credible witness.

“What reason does she have to lie?” he asked.