The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

September 24, 2009

Jay Patrick sent to prison

EBENSBURG — Despite maintaining his innocence, former television weatherman James Holcomb was sentenced to four to 10 years in state prison Thursday for sexually abusing a young girl, forging checks and fleeing the country.

Holcomb, 43, who used the on-air name “Jay Patrick” originally was scheduled to be sentenced four years ago on his no-contest pleas in the sex abuse case, but he left the area, eventually going to the Ukraine.

Judge Gerard Long ruled that Holcomb is a sexually violent predator, even though the defense challenged a state psychologist’s finding that the defendant is a pedophile likely to reoffend.

Holcomb will face a lifetime of registration and treatment as a sex offender when he eventually is released from prison.

District Attorney Patrick Kiniry said afterward that although the sentence “was not as long as we'd have liked, it’s still a pretty stiff sentence.”

“It was in the high range of sentencing guidelines,” Kiniry said. “But when you think of what he did, is it ever enough?”

Holcomb told news reporters afterward that he intends to appeal.

Long became angry when Holcomb said prior to sentencing, “I have maintained my innocence the entire time.”

The judge said that he never would have accepted the no-contest plea if Holcomb had voiced his innocence at the plea hearing in 2005.

Holcomb acknowledged he had been told by the judge that a no-contest plea means “not admitting guilt, but not denying it.”

Holcomb was apprehended in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, in early March after U.S. marshals received a tip on his whereabouts. He was returned to the United States and brought back to Cambria County.

In April, Holcomb pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his failure to appear for sentencing in 2005 and for stealing and cashing checks from an Upper Yoder Township nursery where he had worked while awaiting sentencing.

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