CLEARFIELD – A former truancy and community service officer will spend time in jail for soliciting photos from a 15-year-old.
During plea and sentencing court, Robert Dean Laska Jr., 33, 8 Love St., DuBois, pleaded guilty to corruption of minors and loitering and prowling at nighttime.
President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman sentenced him to 30 days to one year in jail and one year consecutive probation. He was ordered to complete 50 hours of community service and was fined $300 plus costs.
The charges stem from an incident July 12, 2014 when Laska was prowling around a DuBois neighborhood where one of his 15-year-old clients lived.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, the victim explained to police that she was watching a movie with her friend when she received a text from Laska asking if she was home. The victim said she thought Laska was helping her probation officer by checking on her.
She replied to Laska’s message confirming she was home. He began sending additional text messages, saying he had given the victim credit for more community service hours than she had completed and he wanted to know what the victim was “going to do for that.” The victim said Laska told her if she sent him a picture of herself, he would give her additional community service hour credits.
Laska said he was walking in her neighborhood and wanted to meet, she said. He also asked her to delete the messages.
As he met Laska behind her house, one of her friends walked up the alley, startling him. After the friend talked with Laska, he ran through nearby yards and hid behind a tree.
The victim and her friend went to another friend’s house where they called the police.
When the officers spoke with the victim’s friend, she said she asked Laska how old he was and Laska said he was 24. The friend asked Laska what he was doing at the victim’s home, and he said he was “just passing through.”
The friend confronted Laska about the victim’s age and told him he shouldn’t be there. Laska then ran away, the friend told police.
The officers checked the area but could not find anyone. The officers then called Laska’s phone number and after two calls, were able to make contact with him. He was told to meet the officers at the police station.
When he was questioned at the station, Laska said he went to check on the victim who he supervises due to truancy issues. Laska said when he arrived, the victim had a friend there and he felt he was being “targeted” due to some of the remarks the victim and her friend made.
The officers could smell alcohol coming from Laska and asked him if he felt it was appropriate for him to show up at a 15-year-old’s house drunk and ask to see pictures of her. Laska hung his head and said, “I messed up.”
Laska also admitted to drinking between six and eight beers prior to contacting the victim.
The officers examined the victim’s phone and found text messages sent by Laska that confirmed the victim’s story.