The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 26, 2013

Convicted molester’s sentencing delayed

Kathy Mellott

EBENSBURG — The sentencing of a Cambria County man convicted of sexually molesting a boy was delayed Tuesday for the second time while the judge reviews experts’ conflicting reports on whether the man would abuse again.

The boy and his family sat through three hours of testimony and indicated they would return from their home in Ford City, Armstrong County, to speak when Patrick Leroy Rugg is sentenced.

Judge Linda Fleming said she understands the difficulty the family is going through, but added it is better to wait a little longer for closure rather than be forced to go through things again if her decisions would be overturned on appeal.

“I’m going to make sure this victim and his family won’t see future problems through appeal,” Fleming said.

Rugg, 33, was convicted in late June of sexually abusing the boy over a 14-month period during 2009 and 2010, when the boy was 9 and 10.

Rugg was convicted of four felony counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse of a child, each carrying a mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison. The sentences can be run concurrently or consecutively, at the discretion of the judge.

But first it has to be determined if Rugg is a sexually violent predator under Megan’s law, a designation that would bring harsher sentencing and lifetime registration of with state police.

Testimony by experts who interviewed Rugg showed conflicting opinions.

One deemed him a pedophile with a high probability of repeating his offense. Herbert Hays testified that his Sept. 13 interview with the defendant and facts in the case show Rugg is a sexually violent predator. Hays is a criminal justice expert and certified forensic consultant who was appointed by the state sexual offenders assessment board to do the evaluation.

Scott Scotilla, a psychologist testifying for the defense, said his interview with Rugg shows the defendant suffers from a major depressive disorder, has consistently denied any of the claims of abuse and is eager to get started on his appeal of the conviction, which Rugg is convinced will be overturned.

Rugg has no prior criminal record for sexual abuse.