Man faces trial in alleged child rape
HUGHESVILLE – After hearing more than an hour of testimony from four prosecution witnesses, District Judge Jon E. Kemp ruled there was sufficient evidence to hold 24-year-old Ryan Joseph Brown on most state police charges for allegedly raping a child.
Arrested in late March on charges of physically and sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl on Michael Avenue in Wolf Township during the first two weeks of last November, Brown, of Ephrata, has been held at the Lycoming County Prison since then in lieu of $500,000 bail.
The investigation began in mid-November only after Brown’s brother alerted the county’s Children and Youth Department that he saw injuries on the girl’s body, according to Trooper Jeffrey Vilello, the lead investigator.
The girl briefly was hospitalized at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.
More information about how Brown allegedly assaulted the girl came to light days later when the victim was interviewed by a counselor from the Child Advocacy Center in Northumberland County.
During Brown’s recent preliminary hearing, Kemp heard testimony from a child abuse expert, a caseworker at the county’s Children and Youth Department, Vilello and Brown’s brother.
Kemp tossed out one of two counts of rape as well as one count each of aggravated assault and recklessly endangering.
However, the judge ruled Brown will face further court action on two counts each of aggravated indecent assault and indecent assault as well as one count each of rape, statutory sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, sexual assault and simple assault.
Also charged in the case were Brown’s 54-year-old mother, Theresa Marie Brown, and his 26-year-old girlfriend, Deanna Marie Morrill, both of whom face one count of endangering the welfare of a child because they allegedly neglected to notify authorities when they learned of the alleged assault, police said.
The two, who are free on bail, waived their preliminary hearings earlier this year.