Cook sentenced on child sex assault charges

LEWISTOWN – A man convicted of molesting two juvenile girls was sentenced on Friday to serve 11 to 22 years in a state correctional facility.

During his sentencing hearing, 49-year-old Patrick Cook continued to maintain his innocence.

Cook was convicted of multiple counts of aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault and corruption minors following a jury trial in November 2013.

President Judge Dave W. Barron informed Cook of his lifetime obligation to register under Megan’s Law once he is released from prison.

Barron said Cook was found to be a sexually violent predator by the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board.

Mifflin County Crime/Victims Coordinator Jami Glick read two victim impact statements to the court on Friday.

In the first statement, the now 18-year-old victim described how Cook’s actions led to a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which affects all aspects of her life.

In the other statement read by Glick, the second victim, now 19 years old, described Cook as a “very sick and pathetic man.”

Cook chose to represent himself during the trial, with attorney Matthew A. Sembach as standby counsel.

During the course of the trial, then President Judge Timothy S. Searer had to interrupt Cook on several occasions for making statements, rather than asking questions of the witnesses. Searer gave Cook some latitude during his questioning, but the defendant continued to struggle.

Sembach appeared frustrated that he was limited in his ability to assist Cook and on several occasions slipped the defendant pieces of paper with written questions he felt he should be asking witnesses on them.

At one point, Cook requested that Sembach represent him again, which Searer denied.

Searer said Cook chose to represent himself some time ago and had gone through four attorneys throughout the course of his case coming to trial.

During opening statements and when he took the stand to testify, Cook basically said the same short statement “I am innocent of these charges.”

The assaults began nearly 10 years ago and both victims testified Cook groped them in a sexual manner and they were afraid of him, which was one of the reasons they hadn’t immediately told their parents or reported the incidents to the police.