Sex­ual as­sault charges move to county court

Man ac­cused of as­sault­ing girl­friend’s daugh­ter

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - NEWS - By Linda Finarelli

ABING­TON >> Charges against a Philadel­phia man ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing the daugh­ter of his girl­friend over a two-year pe­riod were for­warded for trial in county court dur­ing an Oct. 17 pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing be­fore Dis­trict Judge John Kessler.

Bruce A. Beatty, 49, of the 2100 block of Cobbs Creek, has been charged with felony counts of in­vol­un­tary de­vi­ate sex­ual in­ter­course with a child, un­law­ful con­tact with a mi­nor, ag­gra­vated in­de­cent as­sault of a child, in­de­cent as­sault and cor­rup­tion of mi­nors.

Beatty, rep­re­sented by Abi­gail Leeds, stip­u­lated to the charges, which the judge said meant “for the pur­pose of to­day’s hear­ing you will not be chal­leng­ing the in­for­ma­tion set forth in the af­fi­davit of prob­a­ble cause,” so the charges will go up to county court.

A charge of en­dan­ger­ing the wel­fare of a child was dis­missed by Kessler at the hear­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit of prob­a­ble cause, a 12-yearold Abing­ton girl, ac­com­pa­nied by her mother, told po­lice July 29 that Beatty had sex­u­ally as­saulted her nu­mer­ous times be­tween De­cem­ber 2016 and June 2018 while he was her mother’s boyfriend.

The girl, who was ages 10 to 12 dur­ing the as­saults, de­scribed two in­ci­dents, one in April 2018 that oc­curred while she was in her mother’s bed­room af­ter tak­ing a shower, clothed only in a robe, while her mother and younger brother were down­stairs.

The vic­tim said she feared Beatty, de­scrib­ing him as “a big strong man,” and didn’t know what he would do if she re­sisted, so she didn’t say any­thing dur­ing the as­sault.

The girl also de­scribed the most re­cent in­ci­dent, which oc­curred in June 2018 when she was watch­ing tele­vi­sion on her mother’s bed and while other fam­ily mem­bers were in the home.

Leeds ar­gued for dis­missal of the charge of en­dan­ger­ing the wel­fare of a child, not­ing the vic­tim’s mother was in the home at the time and that Beatty, who did not live there, “was not a par­ent, guardian or per­son [re­spon­si­ble for] su­per­vis­ing the wel­fare of a child.”

Mont­gomery County As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Ni­cholas Bee­son ar­gued the statute was broad and “doesn’t limit the scope of who can fill this role … noth­ing says you have to be that one per­son re­spon­si­ble for look­ing af­ter the kid.”

Beatty, who had a re­la­tion­ship with the girl’s mother off and on for five years, “had ex­ten­sive ex­po­sure to the child,” Bee­son said, and ar­gued “it should be left to the next level to de­ter­mine” if the charge should be up­held.

Kessler re­sponded, “It’s a stretch to say some­one in the home as a guest or in­vi­tee has a re­spon­si­bil­ity for a child.”

Fol­low­ing a break dur­ing which the judge read case law sup­plied by both at­tor­neys, Kessler said, “Leeds makes a com­pelling ar­gu­ment.

“He may have a re­la­tion­ship with oth­ers in the house, but there is no ex­pec­ta­tion the de­fen­dant had su­per­vi­sion of the child; I will dis­miss that charge.”

Beatty re­mains free on a $50,000 bail bond.

For­mal ar­raign­ment in county court is sched­uled for Dec. 12.

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