Man bound over on assault of adopted daughter

By LANA MUTHLER

lmuthler@lockhaven.com

LOCK HAVEN — A 57-year-old man was bound over for trial on three counts of indecent assault on a girl who was his adopted daughter at the time.

The alleged assaults occurred when the girl was between the ages of 7 and 10 and was the adopted daughter of Timothy L.R. Strouse and his wife, of 1028 1/2 W. Fourth St., Flemington.

Now almost 11 years old, the girl appeared via a video interview at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Bellefonte, during Strouse’s preliminary hearing Tuesday before District Judge Frank Mills. The interview was held on April 28, 2017.

She also testified briefly behind closed doors in the judge’s chambers, just prior to the judge’s decision.

Charges were filed by state police at Lamar after a report of suspected child abuse was received from the Central Children and Youth Region on April 10, 2017, according to Trooper Kimberly Patterson, who investigated the allegations.

The girl was adopted by the Strouses and lived with them at the West Fourth Street residence for more than four years until they relinquished parental rights in October 2016, Patterson said. The trooper said the girl was not residing with the Strouses when the investigation began and is now living with a family in Tioga County.

During her video testimony, the girl called Tim “her dad” and described several occasions when he “touched her on her private spot.” She said Strouse told her not to tell anyone… to keep it a secret… that mom would get mad at him if she told her.

The girl described one specific time when he touched her beneath her dress and underpants and another time when he asked her to touch his private spot. She talked about sitting on his lap on the couch and said that was another time he put his hand beneath her clothing.

At one point, she said the incidents “happen every Sunday… we don’t do it at night, only in the afternoon or morning.”

At the end of the interview, the girl used drawings of a girl and boy to show exactly where what she called her “private spot” is and where his “private spot” is, circling the crotch areas on both drawings.

Defense attorney Matt Zeigler asked that the charges be dismissed, saying there was nothing to indicate the touching was done for the purpose of sexual arousal and all the evidence on the video tape was hearsay.

Clinton County Assistant District Attorney Michael Angelelli said hearsay evidence is permissible at a preliminary hearing, that the testimony met all the elements of this crime and the defendant committed the crime.