Edna Spencer, 60, of Clearfield was found guilty of corruption of minors and indecent assault by a jury of seven women and five men yesterday at a trial held at Clearfield County Courthouse before Judge Paul Cherry.
According to Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr., Spencer’s sentence will be up to Judge Cherry; but theoretically, Spencer could be looking at no jail time to a maximum of six months to 10 years in jail.
Shaw also said Spencer must undergo a Megan’s Law Assessment to determine how long her registration requirements will be.
Sentencing usually occurs within 60 days.
Spencer, who was employed by the Clearfield Area School District and was assisting one of the district’s students at Clearfield County Career & Technology Center was convicted of inappropriately touching a 17-year-old student on her bare sides and commenting and making sexual comments while the girl was dressing in the locker room, according to testimony at trial.
The victim and her friend testified they were in the locker room when the incident occurred and a third student testified she entered soon afterward when the other two told her what happened. The three then reported it to then school Principal Fred Redden.
Spencer admitted to police that she touched the girl and made the comments, but said it wasn’t done in malice and was only complimenting her in a motherly way.
The day started with a Lawrence Township Police officer continuing his testimony; however Shaw and Spencer’s attorney, Chris Mohney of DuBois and Beau Grove of Ridgway, argued over how the video of Spencer’s interview with the officer on April 2, 2019 would again be shown to the jury.
Shaw asked to show portions of the video to the jury, but Mohney objected to showing anything except the entire video. The court adjourned for about an hour for the lawyers to argue in chambers, and once they reconvened, Cherry ruled in Shaw’s favor and allowed him to play portions of the video.
Shaw played portions of the video showing the hand motions Spencer made, mimicking how she touched the girl.
During cross examination by Mohney, Mohney asked the police officer if he remembered telling Spencer during the interview that he had statements from all of the other girls in the class, saying she had made them feel uncomfortable and if this statement was true. The officer said he remembered making such statements and said he was using deception and said he is legally allowed to do so.
The defense called the teacher of the culinary arts program and several students to the stand, who all said they never saw Spencer act or say anything inappropriate. They also had several colleagues and associates of Spencer’s as character witnesses who said Spencer had a reputation of being law abiding.
During closing arguments Shaw said for the charge of indecent assault, it is up to the jury to decide if the touching of the student’s sides constitutes an intimate part and Shaw argued that touching her sides and making those comments constitutes an indecent assault. He argued that Spencer is guilty of corruption of minors because the victim will be affected for the rest of her life because of what Spencer did.
And in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky case, everyone now knows these kinds of behaviors are inappropriate.
“You don’t touch kids,” Shaw said.
In his closing arguments, Mohney said it doesn’t make sense that Spencer would assault a girl in the locker room when other people were present, and said the police jumped to conclusions and were “cherry-picking” the evidence to justify its conclusion.