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Police search for Harrisburg man convicted in absentia for having indecent contact with 8-year-old girl in 2017

Devin Nelson, 33, did not show up for his trial and was convicted of three felonies on Tuesday, prosecutors say. Police are trying to find him.
Credit: Dauphin County District Attorney's Office
Devin Nelson

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Law enforcement authorities in Dauphin County are searching for a man convicted in absentia of indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, and corruption of minors on Tuesday.

Devin Nelson, 33, was found guilty of having indecent contact with an 8-year-old girl in a home on Bellvue Road in Harrisburg in 2017.

The victim, now 13, testified that, one night when she was in fourth grade, her mother’s boyfriend came into her room and touched her indecently, according to Dauphin County prosecutors.

The next morning the defendant told the child that “he was drunk and not to tell her mother what happened," according to testimony. 

Nevertheless, prosecutors said, the child disclosed the abuse to her mother the day it happened.  

Testimony revealed that the mother did not report the abuse to the authorities at the time that the incident occurred. The child explained that she told some of her friends what had happened.  

This likely resulted in the anonymous report received by Dauphin County Children and Youth Services in 2018, according to prosecutors.

As part of the investigation, an interview of the child occurred at the Children’s Resource Center in Harrisburg. During the interview, the then 9-year-old told the interviewer that her mother told her that if she answered the questions, she would be ripped apart from her family and her mother would get in trouble.  

While the child made no disclosures of abuse at the CRC, the investigation was left open.  

About two months later, the child disclosed the sexual abuse during a second interview with investigators, according to prosecutors.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gettle credited the exceptional investigative work of Detective Paula Trovy of Harrisburg Bureau of Police and CYS Caseworker Aishah Calloway. 

“They went above and beyond to get justice for this child," she said. "They recognized that the mother of the victim was interfering with the child abuse investigation — their diligence brought accountability but also, more importantly, it ensured the safety of that child.”  

The trial proceeded without Nelson, who failed to appear despite proper notice. The court issued a bench warrant for him, prosecutors said.

The Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office requests that anyone who may know his whereabouts to contact Harrisburg Bureau of Police or the Dauphin County Sheriff’s Department.  

Once the defendant is apprehended, the court will schedule sentencing, the DA's Office said. 

In addition to facing imprisonment under the sentencing guidelines, he will be on the Sexual Offender’s Registry for the remainder of his life.

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