Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pedophile to spend 10-20 years in prison


Joseph R. Delaney, who in 2010 sexually molested a preteen boy in Tamaqua, is headed to state prison and faces lifetime of Megan's Law sanctions after being sentenced Monday in Schuylkill County Court.

Delaney, 34, of Port Carbon, must spend 10 to 20 years in a state correctional institution and an additional five years on probation, Judge John E. Domalakes ruled at the end of a 20-minute hearing.

Domalakes said Delaney is a sexually violent predator and is subject to lifetime sanctions under Megan's Law.

Sheriff's deputies handcuffed Delaney, who showed no reaction, and led him out of the courtroom immediately after the sentencing.

Delaney pleaded guilty but mentally ill April 18 to eight counts of indecent assault, six of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, three of indecent exposure and one of corruption of minors.

Tamaqua police had charged him with sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy on several occasions, beginning May 1, 2010, in the borough.

In ruling that Delaney is a sexually violent predator, Domalakes accepted the testimony of Joseph B. Sheris, a Pottsville psychologist and member of the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board.

"He befriended the boy. He engaged in sexual contact with the boy," Sheris testified of Delaney. "This is clearly consistent with pedophilic interest. He meets the criteria for pedophilia."

Furthermore, Sheris said, Delaney engaged in predatory behavior toward the boy, the other characteristic of a sexually violent predator.

"My opinion is, he meets the criteria of a sexually violent predator," Sheris testified.

Under the terms of the sentence, which was part of a plea agreement between prosecutors and Delaney, Domalakes also ordered the defendant to pay costs and $50 to the Criminal Justice Enhancement Account, submit a DNA sample to law enforcement authorities, have no contact with his victim and undergo sexual offender treatment.

"We're satisfied with the sentence imposed," Assistant District Attorney Jennifer N. Lehman said after the hearing. "The victims were satisfied with the agreement reached."

Assistant Public Defender Christopher M. Riedlinger, Delaney's lawyer, declined to comment on the case after the hearing.

Because Delaney pleaded guilty but mentally ill, he will receive treatment for his illness and then, when he is deemed cured, will serve the balance of his sentence behind bars.

Pennsylvania and many other states enacted the guilty but mentally ill plea in the 1980s after John Hinckley Jr. was found not guilty by reason of insanity of trying to assassinate President Ronald W. Reagan in 1981.

The Megan's Law sanctions include requirements that Delaney report his address, employment and educational statuses, and any change in them, to state police for the rest of his life after he leaves prison. Any failure to comply with those sanctions is a crime in itself and could result in further prosecution.

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