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Monday, October 27, 2008

Former Pa. police officer convicted in sex case

The Associated Press -October 24, 2008

NEW BLOOMFIELD, Pa.—A former small-town police officer accused of molesting or propositioning more than a dozen teenage girls while on duty was convicted of several sex offenses. A jury deliberated for about 10 hours Saturday before finding Robert J. Pavlovich Jr. guilty of charges including corruption of minors, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault and bribery in official matters. Pavlovich, 40, of Camp Hill, denied the charges during the three-day trial. Asked on the witness stand whether he had sex with any of the accusers, touched them improperly or asked them to sneak out of their homes, the former Marysville officer replied, "Absolutely not." Pavlovich said, however, that he did ask three teenage girls to meet him late at night at locations in Marysville as part of an investigation into drug activity and underage drinking. No one was arrested based on information he received from them, he said.

Several women testified during the trial that, when they were 13 or 14, Pavlovich tried to convince them to sneak out of their homes and meet him. They said they believed he intended to have sex with them. Others testified that Pavlovich had fondled them, and one woman who has been diagnosed with a mental disability testified that she was pressured to perform oral sex on Pavlovich when she was 19. The allegations date back to 2000, the year Pavlovich was hired. He was suspended from the force in March 2007 and later fired. Pavlovich remained free on $250,000 bail. No sentencing date has been set. Jonelle H. Eshbach, a senior state deputy attorney general who prosecuted the case, said she was satisfied with the verdict. Defense lawyer P. Richard Wagner and the Pavlovich family did not comment. The victims and their families were not at the courthouse in New Bloomfield when the verdict was announced after 10 p.m. Saturday. Marysville, a borough of about 2,400 people, is just northwest of Harrisburg. Information from: The Patriot-News,

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