This morning Judge Margaret Miller sentenced fifty-eight year old Richard E. Lawrence to two consecutive life sentences. The convictions were based upon the Defendant’s sexual conduct with a teenage boy who is a member of the Plain Community. Defendant Lawrence befriended members of the Plain Community in Salisbury Township, Lancaster County. Lawrence, who was not a member of the Plain Community, performed services for the Community, driving them for hire and doing other tasks. Lawrence rented housing from a member of the Community.
In the summer of 2009, Lawrence met a sixteen year old male member of the Community and began to engage in sexual contact with that victim. The victim eventually disclosed the improper contact to his father. Members of the Community were advised about the conduct law enforcement authorities were informed of the matter. Corporal Phil Matson of the PSP investigated the case.
On May 3, 2012, Corporal Matson filed two counts of Corruption of Minors (F3 and M1), one count of Indecent Exposure (M2), and one count of Unlawful Contact With Minor (F3) against the Defendant.
Trial was conducted before Judge Miller Jan 30 to 31, 2014. Defendant found guilty on all counts. Court ordered a Presentence Investigation Report and an assessment by the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board (SOAB).
At sentencing, today, the Commonwealth called witness Dr. Robert Stein from the SOAB, who testified as to why he believed that the Defendant should be classified as a sexually violent predator (SVP). Following that testimony, the Court found that the Def was an SVP.
The court then noted a Sentencing Memorandum that had been previously filed by our office, setting forth details about the defendant’s prior convictions for sexual offenses, some involving minor victims, from Fairfax County, Virginia. The Commonwealth submitted the documents under seal of the County of Fairfax, Virginia, so the court accepted the documents as self-authenticating documents. The court then used those documents to form a factual basis for a finding that the Defendant had committed six prior Megan’s Law – type offenses.
In its Sentencing Memorandum, the Commonwealth had requested that the Court sentence the Defendant to a life sentence under Title 42 section 9718.2. This law requires the court to sentence a Defendant to a life sentence if the Commonwealth proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a Defendant has two or more prior Megan’s Law offenses. In the Lawrence case, the court concluded that the Defendant had six prior convictions. Accordingly, the Court sentenced the Defendant to the following:
Count 1: Life, pay costs
Count 2. 18 months to 5 years, consecutive to Count 1, pay costs
Count 3: 12 months to 24 months, concurrent with Count 2, pay costs
Count 4: Life, consecutive to Count 1, pay costs
The Defendant was represented by def counsel Daniel Kaye. The Commwealth was represented by ADA James Reeder