The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 31, 2013

Molester sentenced to 40-80 yrs.

EBENSBURG — A local man convicted last year by a Cambria County jury of repeatedly sexually molesting a boy was sentenced Tuesday to spend a minimum of the next four decades behind bars.

Patrick Rugg, 34, of Ebensburg, was sentenced by Judge Linda Fleming to 40 to 80 years in prison and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

Rugg has been housed in the Cambria County Prison since his June 27, 2012, conviction and will be moved to Camp Hill in Cumberland County for processing.

The defendant’s mother, Edna Close, told the court that she believes her son is innocent of the four counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse along with charges of trafficking of persons, indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child and corruption of minors.

She asked that her son be housed at SCI-Somerset, a move Fleming said is out of her control.

Rugg did not speak at his sentencing because he continues to maintain his innocence and plans to appeal not only his conviction, but also his sentence, defense attorney Thomas Dickey said.

While the involuntary deviate sexual intercourse convictions each carry a mandatory 10-year sentence, Dickey urged the court to run the sentences concurrent because he feels Rugg can be rehabilitated.

“There are some appeal issues, some evidentiary issues during trial,” Dickey said following the sentencing. “He maintains his innocence. That’s why he didn’t speak.”

Cambria County Assistant District Attorney Tamara Bernstein said the sentence fit the time she was seeking.

“I’m pleased,” she said. “It’s been a long road for the victim in the case.

“The court listened to the jury with its verdict and the severity of the crime.”

The mother of the victim said only: “He got what we wanted.”

Fleming, who noted that Rugg did not address the court prior to his sentencing and express remorse, reminded him that during the trial there was one credible witness who observed the victimization.

“You must not admit you have a problem,” she told Rugg. “In terms of your rehabilitation, if you don’t acknowledge an issue, the possibility of any treatment is almost nonexistent.”

The abuse occurred in Ebensburg and Armstrong County in 2009 and 2010 when the boy, now 14, was 11.

The victim’s mother said Rugg was a longtime friend who she viewed as a father figure to her son.

The abuse by a trusted friend has created long-term issues for her son, including the need for psychological help over the past three years, she said.

“While he is finally getting back on track, he still has trust issues,” she said.

The trafficking conviction relates to Rugg’s transporting the boy from the Kittanning area back to Ebensburg for the purpose of having sex with him.

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