Hearing Continued in Indecent Assault Case

CLEARFIELD – A preliminary hearing was continued for a Clearfield man accused of indecent assault by Magisterial District Judge Richard Ireland during Centralized Court on Wednesday at the Clearfield County Jail.

John Joel Ralston, 51, of Clearfield has been charged with indecent assault/person less than 13 years of age. The charges stem from an alleged incident that occurred in February or March of 2013 when the victim was visiting Ralston at his camp/residence.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, on Aug. 4, 2013, state police interviewed the victim about his visit with Ralston. The victim alleged to state police that Ralston had inappropriately touched him.

On Aug. 6, 2013, the victim was interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center. During the interview, the victim alleged that Ralston inappropriately touched him on two, separate occasions while he was visiting him at his camp.

Last week at Centralized Court, Ralston waived his preliminary hearing on charges of statutory sexual assault; involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; corruption of minors; indecent assault; and selling or furnishing liquor or malt or brewed beverages to minors.

According to the affidavit of probable cause for that case, the state police initiated the investigation into Ralston after getting information from another alleged sexual assault victim. It was reported to state police that Ralston had been furnishing alcohol to boys. State police contacted the alleged victims and interviewed them for the case.

From summer of 2010 until this summer, Ralston would allegedly pick up several boys in Huntingdon and bring them to his camp in Decatur Township and his residence in Lawrence Township. The boys, the affidavit states, would spend weekends at Ralston’s camp and residence. While there, Ralston would allegedly furnish them with alcohol and engage in sexual activity with one of the boys.

On Nov. 26, state police interviewed the victim about the alleged sexual abuse. He started going to Ralston’s camp in 2010 and continued through 2012. While at the camp, he related Ralston provided beer, wine coolers, liquor and marijuana to him and his friends. The victim also related Ralston engaged in sexual activity with him on several occasions during these visits.

The victim was also to get a lot of money willed to him from Ralston. Ralston, the victim related, offered the boys $20 to see who would be the first to chug a beer. Other victims also related to state police that Ralston provided them with beer, wine, wine coolers and liquor.

On Dec. 18, state police interviewed Ralston, who admitted to furnishing the boys with alcoholic beverages. He also admitted to engaging in sexual activity with one boy.

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