The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

September 30, 2006

Child abuser seeks prison release

EBENSBURG — A notorious child rapist/torturer – serving a life sentence – says he’s dying of cancer and wants to be released from prison so he can get medical treatment.

Rickie J. Gaddis of Johnstown, 57, is serving a record-length sentence of 235 to 470 years – imposed by Judge Gerard Long – at Frackville State Prison north of Reading.

Former Johnstown police Chief Linda Weaver, who, as a city detective investigated the case, said Friday that Gaddis should remain behind bars for the trauma he put his children through.

Gaddis was convicted in two trials in 1991 and 1992 on more than 150 counts of sexual abuse, torturing and beating several of his seven children.

“I certainly don’t agree that somebody should get out of prison because they’re ill. He was convicted and should remain in prison,” Weaver said.

Gaddis said he has cancer of the bladder, prostate and bones. He said that, previously, he suffered three strokes and one heart attack in state prison.

The state Department of Corrections and its health-care provider will not absorb the cost of aggressive medical treatment, refusing to provide anything but minimal pain management, he said.

He’s asking to be paroled from prison or that his sentence be changed to permit him to go to a personal care home, hospice or other appropriate facility.

Sheila Moore, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections, said that, while the law does permit a change in the place of confinement for compassionate medical relief, the state does provide medical treatment for inmates at its facilities. The state has special units, including skilled nursing care and hospice units, she said. But before inmates are sent to those units, they are examined and placed on priority lists to be transferred.

The children testified about how Gaddis’ systematic abuse, his cultish bloodlettings and tattooing and about how he ruled over them with the claim of having special powers. The abuse came to light in 1991 when the 12-year-old daughter ran to the Women’s Help Center and told about horrors inside the family’s Kernville apartment.

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