The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 24, 2012

Solicitation charges tossed when witnesses skip court

Sandra K Reabuck

BOSWELL — District Judge Susan Mankamyer on Wednesday dismissed all three criminal charges against a Somerset County man accused of soliciting sex from a 14-year-old boy.

Carl J. Fisher, 53, of the 100 block of North Red Drive, Conemaugh Township, had been charged by the township police with promoting prostitution of a minor, criminal solicitation and corrupting the morals of a minor.

Mankamyer threw out the charges when the boy failed to show up to testify at the preliminary hearing. The prosecutor told her that the boy and his mother had been subpoenaed to testify.

Police had alleged in an affidavit that the boy was cutting grass at Fisher’s home on June 30 when Fisher solicited him for sex, telling the boy, “Name your price.”

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Catherine Primavera, could not be reached for comment.

Defense attorney Mike Zatko of Somerset said dismissal of the charges without the alleged victim there to testify was not surprising because an accused person has the right to confront the witness against him.

Testimony by the investigating police officer alone would not be sufficient for the charges to be held for court, Zatko said.

Fisher, who is an insurance company examiner with the state Department of Insurance, was suspended without pay and benefits after his arrest in August, said a department spokeswoman, Melissa Fox.

Fox said she was unable to comment Wednesday on what impact the dismissal will have on Fisher’s suspension.


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