Mount Union man sentenced for child rape

43-year-old to be registered a sex offender

HUNTINGDON — Canaan Hess, 43, of Mount Union, was sentenced Thursday to a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 40 years incarceration in a state correctional institution, after pleading guilty in June to one count rape of a child and one count involuntary deviant sexual intercourse.

“You are truly a monster,” said a member of the victim’s family during an oral statement to the court. The relative requested the judge impose the maximum penalty, after outlining personal issues spanning a two-year period with Hess and his family and acknowledging a change in the victim’s behavior after the incidents began. The relative also advised Hess of how his actions have affected the victim, stating that the victim suffers from insomnia and nightmares and is participating in trauma therapy.

“You made a conscious choice to take advantage of that five-year-old,” the relative said.

According to court documents, Pennsylvania State Police Huntingdon received a call in March from a Huntingdon County Children’s Services caseworker reporting that a five-year-old child had disclosed involuntarily having sexual encounters with Hess while staying at his residence. An extensive interview was conducted with the victim in April, during which the victim, referring to Hess as “Uncle Canaan,” described five incidents that took place from March 20 through March 21, court documents indicate.

Hess initially denied each incident, however later related that “everything the victim said was true,” providing details that corroborated with the victim’s disclosure, according to court documents. Hess was charged on April 24 with 10 criminal counts, including rape of a child, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault and corruption of minors.

“I hope Mr. Hess realizes the damage he caused,” said Huntingdon County District Attorney David Smith, who also requested the judge impose the maximum penalty.

Lane Marshall, Hess’s attorney, acknowledged Hess’s desire to be sentenced when he pleaded guilty as well his client’s personal disgust with himself. Hess made no remarks prior to or after sentencing.

President Judge George Zanic advised Hess that he usually gives a speech before imposing sentences, but was choosing not to in lieu of the statements given by the victim’s relative.

“I wish I could sentence you to have to listen to a recording of that every day in your cell,” Zanic said.

In addition to his prison sentence, Hess is financially responsible to pay the costs of prosecution and a $1000 fine and is required to register as a Tier III sex offender upon release. According to, those convicted with a Tier III sexual offense is placed on the Lifetime Registration.