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April 23, 2013

Ex-school, church official will undergo jury trial

SOMERSET — A former Conemaugh Township school board member and church deacon charged with years of improper contact with children will face trial before a jury of his peers.

A request by Brian Scott Eppley, 57, of North Walnut Street, Davidsville, for a nonjury trial this summer fell flat in court Monday because prosecutors disagreed with the motion.

“For that to happen, both of us have to agree to it – and we didn’t,” Somerset County Assistant District Attorney Catherine Primavera said, noting the state intends on presenting its case before jurors in court.

Eppley is accused in two separate incidents that police say occurred in Maple Spring Church of the Brethren Home in Jerome.

Police allege Eppley instructed a male youth to remove his shoes and place his bare feet on Eppley’s lap – and that he also traced the boy’s feet.

That act occurred monthly for more than two years, police said.

In the other case, Eppley was accused of telling another teen to do the same – but required him to put his feet on the man’s face.

Eppley, also a former Meyersdale teacher, is charged with two counts each of felony unlawful restraint and corruption of minors.

He has maintained innocence, entering a “not guilty” plea to his charges before Judge John Cascio on Monday, court records show.

Eppley is currently free on bond.

His case is currently set for trial in the May term of criminal court.

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