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Man Convicted for Sexually Assaulting Intellectually Disabled Woman

by on September 30, 2015 12:02 PM

After a two-day jury trial, a Lock Haven man has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a State College woman with an intellectual disability in 2012. 

Gary Gephart, 54, now awaits a sentencing hearing on Jan. 19 and the possibility of being deemed a sexually violent predator for forcing a woman with the mental capacities of a third grader into sexual acts, according to a press release from the Centre County District Attorney’s office.

Gephart’s conviction stems from an incident on Sep. 22, 2012, when he went to the victim’s State College apartment to return a VCR and fix her table. The victim, 59 at the time of the assault, had known Gephart since 2008, and he was aware she had an intellectual disability.

According to the DA’s press release, Gephart had brought a bottle of lotion with him and offered the victim a massage. Gephart was able to convince the victim, who did not understand the implications of Gephart’s requests, to remove her shirt and underwear during the massage. 

Prosecutors said Gephart began to sexually assault the victim with his hand and mouth, despite the victim’s pleas for him to stop. Gephart reportedly told the victim not to tell anyone what happened when he left.

After the assault, the victim confided in her neighbor and her neighbor’s caregiver about what Gephart had done. The DA’s office said the victim “began to spiral downward,” started having difficult sleeping, refused to sleep in the bed where the assault occurred, feared that Gephart would come back to her home, and refused to leave her apartment.

When police spoke to Gephart for the first time during the investigation, he reportedly laughed and said he would not have relations with a “retarded” woman. However, Gephart told differing stories to police and the jury throughout the course of the investigation and trial.

During the trial, an expert testified on behalf of prosecutors that the victim didn't have the knowledge to understand pregnancy, contraception, or sexually transmitted diseases. Prosecutors were also able to use Gephart’s previous unrelated convictions for burglary and theft to demonstrate a “propensity of untruthfulness.”

Gephart was convicted of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a person with a mental disability, a first-degree felony, and aggravated indecent assault of a person with a mental disability, a second-degree felony. He was also convicted of misdemeanor indecent assault. 

“We are very grateful that the jury stood up for a woman who has suffered a very difficult life and was then victimized by an opportunist she thought was a friend,” District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said in the press release.

The staff of prepared this article. Reach us at (814) 238-6201.
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