“A Pennsylvania pastor convicted of raping a teenage parishioner when she skipped school will stay in prison after an appeals court rejected his claim that his punishment is “harsh and excessive.”
Othonier Altruz’s argument that his 7 3/4 – to 16-yeat jail term is unjust is based on nothing more than “bald allegations,” Judge John L. Musmanno found in the Superior Court panel’s opinion.
Investigators said the 56-year-old Altruz encountered the 13-year-old Delaware County girl when she walked by his car after deciding to cut class. She recognized Altruz as her pastor and accepted his offer of a ride. She later told police that Altruz took her to a motel, ripped off her clothes, pushed her onto a bed and raped her.
The girl provided several versions of how she was assaulted. Musmanno cited a filing by County Judge Gregory M. Mallon, noted the girl initially said nothing to her parents about being raped. The girl later claimed she was abducted by a stranger, then said Altruz raped her in his car, and finally told investigators the attack occurred at a motel, Mallon wrote.
Police said Altruz agreed to come with officers to their station for questioning when they arrived at his home, but then he fled out the back door. An employee testified that she saw about Altruz leave the motel with a young woman on the day of the rape, investigators said.
Musmanno also rejected Altruz’s contention that Mannon should have declared a mistrial when the girl testified she had tried to commit suicide by cutting her wrists with scissors right before Altruz’s trial.
The prosecution told Altruz’s lawyer about the incident immediately. Musmanno agreed with Mannon’s opinion that the information about the suicide attempt didn’t alter the outcome of Altruz’s trial.”