DUBOIS – A man accused of indecent assault had that charge and one other held to court by Magisterial District Judge Patrick N. Ford after a preliminary hearing on Friday.
Brian Barto, 35 of St. Marys, faces charges of indecent assault and harassment. The charges stem from an incident that occurred on Sept. 26.
The alleged victim in the case, a woman who said she contacted Barto about an estimate on some houses, was the first to take the stand for the commonwealth.
The woman related that Barto and two of his associates followed her to the first of two houses they were to look at at Treasure Lake. She testified that at the first house, Barto presented a six pack after he exited his vehicle. She said that she sat in his vehicle with him while he drank a beer and his two associates examined the house. The woman said that she did not drink, however.
Barto and the woman also examined the house, and she said that Barto commented on her eyes and told her that he “doesn’t kiss and tell.”
The four eventually ended up at the second house where they examined the basement. The woman said that Barto told his two associates to go outside and examine the foundation, leaving she and Barto alone in the basement. The woman then said that grabbed her shoulders, kissed her on the lips and rubbed against her. She said that Barto said made some statements to her and she pushed him away and said no.
Afterward, the woman said she contacted her employer to tell them what happened. She testified that Barto continually attempted to call her cell phone and even drove by her residence on a few occasions. She testified that one of her co-workers answered her cell phone once and spoke with Barto. After that, he did not attempt to contact her again.
Two witnesses took the stand for the defense. One defense witness, David Beiler, said that he thought the woman was being overly friendly and flirting with Barto, though he could not give specific details. He also said that she talked mostly with Barto. When asked by Assistant District Attorney Leanne Nedza whether the woman could have just been a friendly person, Beiler said that could be the case. Nedza also asked the man if he thought the woman was speaking mostly with Barto because Barto was their employer, and he said that could be as well.
Beiler said that at the house where they were all in the basement they all also left the basement together.
The other defense witness, Tim Singer, also testified that he felt the woman was being very friendly, not just to Barto, but to all three men. The man noted that at the house where the basement incident is alleged to have happened, he and Beiler were ordered to go outside and check out the foundation of the house, leaving Barto and the woman alone.
Barto’s attorney tried to show that she may have been coming onto Barto during his questioning of the defense witnesses. However, both witnesses said they saw no physical contact between the woman and Barto. Both men said that they saw the woman either drink a beer or share a beer with Mr. Barto.
Barto is free on unsecured bail, and also waived through charges on a seperate case involving bad checks.