Tiona man to prison for nearly two decades for sex assault

“It’s heroic to do what you did. You brought a predator to justice.”

That was part of the message to the victim in the case against a Tiona man who now faces nearly two decades in state prison on sexual offense charges.

Kelly E. Patz, 50, was sentenced by Judge Gregory Hammond on Friday.

Brenda Mano, a member of the state Sexual Offender Assessment Board, said it was her evaluation that Patz meets the criteria as a sexually violent predator.

She testified that the victim was between the ages of 10 and 13 when he was “sexually victimized by Mr. Patz” and reviewed the allegations in the case.

In the affidavit of probable cause, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General said Patz hired the male victim and others in 2000 to do some work on the patio at his Third Avenue home in the City of Warren.

After a month of that work, Patz asked the boy to help him sell novelty items at local flea markets, according to the affidavit. The work required early morning departures and overnight stays.

According to investigators, the victim said he would wake up to Patz crawling into bed with him or would wake up and he would already be there.

“While in this position, the defendant would attempt to reach inside the victim’s clothing” and fondle him, according to the affidavit. When the boy initially resisted, Patz offered him $100, which he would tuck inside of the victim’s clothing. The conduct escalated to more graphic sexual assaults over time.

The victim “stated his family was poor and he succumbed to the offer of money” and allowed Patz to fondle him numerous times at several locations in Warren County.

Even when the victim’s family moved several states away, the alleged abuse continued, according to the affidavit, with Patz visiting the family while he was a truck driver.

The family moved back to Warren when the victim was under the age of 16, according to the affidavit, and still the alleged assaults continued.

Patz was found guilty in a split verdict at trial earlier this year.

Mano cited a prior conviction in 2012 with conduct showing a “very similar progression of offenses” against another victim of a similar age.

Shifting to sentencing, Patz’ attorney, Eric Hackwelder, said that “my client maintains his innocence.”

Hackwelder said his client has raised his family and been gainfully employed his entire life in addition to service as a military reservist. He advised the court that Patz would “remain silent” when given the opportunity to speak.

Deputy Attorney General Alicia Werner said the victim’s statement was “probably one of the most impactful statements” she’s read in a very long time. “(It is) a shame he still blames himself for the final outcome of the trial.”

Hammond first spoke to the victim who was in the courtroom, explaining that he was “saddened” the victim still found a way to blame himself.

“It’s heroic to do what you did. You brought a predator to justice,” he said. “You’re 100 percent the victim…. All 12 jurors believed you. You should be proud of yourself for that.”

Hammond said the victim had indicated a desire to come forward and disclose the abuse as an example to his own son.

“He has that now,” Hammond said. “You let him know you were courageous. You were a hero. You stood up for yourself. You haven’t done anything (but) what was right.”

Turning to Patz, Hammond said he used his business to create a “mirage that you were a caring person” to prey on a vulnerable child.

“You became his worst nightmare,” he said. “You’re a dangerous sexually violent predator and the public needs protection from you.”

Hammond said it is his perception that Patz is a “man who demonstrates no remorse of any kind” and that his rehabilitative road is a “completely long one.

“Your days of being believed are over and done with.”

Hammond said he received letters from Patz’ children on their father’s behalf.

“You did this to your own kids…. Now they get to live with this,” he continued, arguing that Patz owes the truth to his children.

Hammond then said he would be placing the sentences in the aggravated range due to the harm suffered by the victim and the “grave danger” he poses to the community, calling him an “extremely poor candidate for rehabilitation.”

He then sentenced Patz to 20 to 40 months in state prison each on charges of contact/communication with a minor – sexual offenses and two counts of statutory sexual assault. That first charge included credit for 115 days time served, $625 in fines and fees, to undergo a mental health evaluation and comply with recommendations, complete sex offender counseling, restitution totaling approximately $2,400, submission of a DNA sample, to have no unsupervised contact with a minor and no contact or communication with the victim in this case.

From there, the months that Patz’ faces quickly stacked up – 60 to 120 months each on two counts of sexual assault and 12 to 24 months each on two counts each of corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children.

Hammond said the total sentence was 228 months – or 19 years – to 456 months – 38 years.

In addition, he ruled that Patz is now a lifetime registered sexual offender in addition to the classification as a sexually violent predator which, he said, brings lifetime registration and monthly counseling obligations.


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