After a two and a half day trial, a Dauphin County Jury yesterday afternoon convicted Stephen Carruthers of repeatedly molesting a child over a period of eight years.
Carruther, 56, of Susquehanna Township, molested the victim when she was between the ages of 4 to 12 years old while she was visiting his home.
The victim revealed the abuse to a family member when she was 13 years old. She described during her testimony how she was too frightened to tell anyone about the hundreds of incidents of sexual abuse she suffered during the 8 year period while the abuse was happening because of death threats that Carruthers made towards her and her family members.
Carruthers testified during the trial that he never molested the girl. When pressed during cross-examination buy Chief Deputy District Attorney Seán McCormack about the abuse, Carruthers accused McCormack of blaspheming the relationship he had with the girl. When confronted by McCormack about letters that Carruthers wrote to his victim from prison after his arrest on the charges, which were in violation of court orders not to contact the victim, Carruthers got upset and boasted that the District Attorney only had a fraction of the letters he had written to her. He then told the jury that he had written over 300 letters to the victim and that no one had the right to prevent him from writing her.
McCormack reiterated after trial what he told the jury during his closing argument,
“The victim in this case is not defined by the crimes Carruthers committed against her but instead she is defined by the strength she found within herself to enter this courtroom and testify”.
McCormack reports that the victim was extremely relieved that the jury convicted Carruthers and that as a result of the conviction she finally felt safe. Carruthers is facing at least a 10 to 20 year mandatory sentence in this case. McCormack indicated that at the time of sentencing he would be asking for a sentence greater than the mandatory.
“For the safety of society, this man needs to be locked up for a very long time.”
Carruthers was convicted of Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse with a Child, Aggravated Indecent Assault of a Child, Indecent Assault, Indecent Exposure, Corruption of a Minor, Unlawful Contact with a Minor and Terroristic Threats.
Dauphin County President Judge Todd A. Hoover ordered that Carruthers to be evaluated by the Sexual Offender Assessment Board to determine if he should be classified as a Sexually Violent Predator. Judge Hoover scheduled sentencing for January 21, 2015.
Carruthers remains in the Dauphin County Prison on $250,000 bail.