DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. – A Dauphin County jury has convicted Richard Soto, of Middletown, of Rape of a Child and other related sexual offenses.
Prosecutors say Soto assaulted the child in many different ways over a two year period when she was ages 6 through 8. The child told her mother about the assaults in the middle of 2013, and instead of protecting the child, her mother told her not to tell anyone and that she would “beat her butt.” As a result of her failure to seek help for her daughter, the victim’s mother was charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child. The mother pleaded guilty to that charge earlier this year. The victim no longer lives with her mother as the mother continues to steadfastly support Soto.
The incidents of sexual assault came to light around Halloween 2013, when the victim and her classmates were tasked with decorating and coloring a picture of a monster. When the victim drew a penis on the monster, the teacher notified the guidance counselor, and the guidance counselor notified the proper authorities. Upon further questioning, the victim provided very graphic details about the sex acts committed against her, details only a child who was sexually assaulted would know. At trial, the victim’s mother took the stand in support of the defendant; he also testified in his own defense.
After three days of testimony, and approximately 5 hours of deliberation, the jury was unable to reach a verdict verdict by Friday evening. President Judge Richard A. Lewis sent the jury home for the weekend and instructed them to resume deliberations at 9:00 this morning. After deliberating for approximately another hour this morning, the jury returned to the courtroom and returned a verdict of guilty on all charges.
In addition to Rape of a Child, Soto was convicted of Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse with a Child, Aggravated Indecent Assault, Indecent Assault, Unlawful Contact with a Minor, Corruption of a Minor and Indecent Exposure.
District Attorney Abby Trovinger who prosecuted the case reacted to the verdict. “This little girl is one of the bravest people I have ever met. She has overcome so many obstacles in her life, and she continues to have hope for the future. She’s an inspiration, and it’s been a great honor of my career to prosecute this case on behalf of the Commonwealth. I will do my very best to see to it that this defendant can never do this to another child ever again.”
Sentencing is scheduled for January 19, 2016 at 1:30 pm. The Soto faces a maximum sentence of 159 years in state prison.