French Accused of Sexually Assaulting Man with Mental Disability

CLEARFIELD – Michael James French, 45, of Eldred has been accused of sexually assaulting a man with a mental disability, according to court paperwork filed with the office of Magisterial District Judge Richard Ireland.

French has been charged by Officer Mitchell R. Klender of the Clearfield Borough police with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse/ person with a mental disability; indecent assault/person with a mental disability; indecent exposure; disorderly conduct; and open lewdness.

French has been arraigned on the charges and lodged in the Clearfield County Jail in lieu of $100,000 monetary bail. His preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. April 19 during centralized court at the jail.

The charges against French stem from an alleged incident that occurred the evening of Aug. 19, 2016 in the area of Dingers Grand Slam Grille & Groggery on Nichols Street in Clearfield.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, a witness observed two males performing oral sex on each other. When police arrived at the scene, the victim was identified as a man known to have a mental disability.

French told police he was in DuBois the previous night when he was picked up by police for sleeping in the park. He was intoxicated and taken to the county jail.

He said that he was released earlier in the day and waiting for a ride. He also said he met the victim at Sheetz, they were only hanging out and he didn’t do anything wrong.

When police spoke with the witness, she said she was walking across the bridge when she observed French pushing the victim’s head down on his private area. They were in the grass below the back deck at Dingers.

While he was doing this, she said French was also “groping” the victim. She called 911 right away and probably alerted French and the victim as she spoke loudly. They got up and began walking away.

When police spoke to French a second time, he allegedly admitted he and the victim were having oral sex. He didn’t state this verbally but instead pressed his tongue to the inside of his cheek.

Police observed that French had glassy and bloodshot eyes. The officer also detected an odor of alcohol emitting from him. French admitted to having a few beers earlier in the day.

On Oct. 11, 2016, the victim had a psychological evaluation. It was determined he certainly wasn’t able to make decisions for himself and was vulnerable to being taken advantage of by others.

The victim also corroborated the witness’ report when he spoke with the doctor about the incident.

On March 23, the doctor told police that she felt the victim was incapable of giving consent for sexual relations.

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