CLEARFIELD – A jury of nine women and three men deliberated for a half-hour Thursday before finding a Hawk Run man guilty of inappropriately touching a young girl.
Wescott Pusey, 41, of Hawk Run was found guilty of one count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child. He was also found guilty of 30 counts each of aggravated indecent assault of a child, aggravated indecent assault of a person less than 13 years, corruption of minors and indecent assault.
Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. prosecuted the case on behalf of the commonwealth. Pusey was represented by defense attorney Ron Collins of Clearfield. Judge Paul Cherry presided over the trial and revoked Pusey’s bail immediately after the verdict.
Yesterday, the alleged victim testified first on behalf of the commonwealth. However, Shaw requested that the courtroom be cleared during her testimony with the exception of the necessary personnel.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on May 25, 2014, the victim told her mother that Pusey had been inappropriately touching her. When interviewed by state police at Clearfield the victim said this happened “a lot” and more than 30 times. During one incident, the victim said Pusey inserted an object inside of her.
The victim’s mother told jurors that Pusey would communicate with her via e-mail, text-message and Facebook after she found out about it. In these communications, she said Pusey admitted “his sins had been made known.” She also said he left the victim a note, telling her what happened wasn’t her fault but his own.
During his closing arguments, Collins said Pusey wasn’t disputing that he had inappropriately touched the victim. “He didn’t deny it or try to come in and call anyone a liar,” he said. “Instead we would suggest to you that the commonwealth made it into more than what he did.”
Collins claimed to jurors that the commonwealth wanted them to believe Pusey subjected the victim to something even more awful than what had actually occurred. He asked jurors to be fair in their deliberations and to only punish Pusey for indecent assault.
Shaw countered, telling the jurors that Pusey inappropriately touched the victim two or three times weekly between January of 2011 and May of 2014. He said Collins wanted them to believe that the commonwealth was over-prosecuting Pusey when he could have been charged with 1,000-plus counts.
He asked jurors to recognize that Pusey didn’t want to accept responsibility for what he’d done to the victim. As a result, he said that Collins was trying to make Pusey’s behavior appear less criminal.
“We’re not here trying to make it into anything other than what it is,” said Shaw. He called the jurors’ attention back to Pusey’s message to the victim’s mother in which he admitted that his sins had been made known. “It’s not consistent with the defense’s argument.”
Pusey, according to Shaw, will serve “considerable time,” which theoretically could be a minimum of 10 or 30 years in jail. However, he said it will be up to the judge to determine Pusey’s sentence on the charges and if it will run consecutive or concurrent.