Former Curwensville coach sentenced for child sexual assaults | News, Sports, Jobs | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

CLEARFIELD — A former Curwensville baseball coach accused of sexually assaulting two boys signed a plea deal and was given a lengthy prison sentence Wednesday.

President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman sentenced Thomas Patrick Harzinski, 49, to 13 to 31 years in state prison followed by 15 years’ probation for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, two counts of indecent assault and two counts of corruption of minors, all felonies.

Harzinski must complete sex offender counseling and register with authorities under Megan’s Law.

Harzinski came under scrutiny after two victims told an adult about the assaults, which the victims said occurred at a hotel in Pittsburgh, a campground in Williamsport and at Harzinski’s home in Olanta.

Prior to sentencing, a hearing was held to determine whether Harzinski should be classified as a sexually violent predator.

William G. Allenbaugh, a member of the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, said that pedophilia is a “lifetime condition” with no cure. He testified that Harzinski’s case involves predatory behavior and he believes Harzinski has a mental abnormality.

Allenbaugh said it was his professional opinion that Harzinski meets the criteria for being a sexually violent predator.

The father of one of the victims addressed the court, explaining the huge impact the assaults had on his son and stating the only reason he didn’t come after Harzinski was because he didn’t want to go to jail.

Calling Harzinski a “sick individual,” he went on to say the boy has nightmares and flashbacks. His kids don’t want to play baseball, go to a Pirates game or camping because of Harzinski.

“They looked at you as a mentor, and you took advantage of them,” the father said.

He also questioned how many other victims there might be.

He finished by saying that if it were up to him, Harzinski wouldn’t be sitting in court, he would be dead.

District Attorney Ryan Sayers also said Harzinski was trusted by the boys and their family before he took advantage of them. He noted that the victims are still suffering and will for the rest of their lives.

Sayers asked Ammerman to go beyond the recommended maximum sentence of 26 years. He said there is a concern these are not the only two victims.

Attorney Ryan Dobo, who represented Harzinski, asked Ammerman to disregard the comment about more victims because there are no other charges and Harzinski has no prior criminal record.

Harzinski told the court he takes full responsibility for his actions, is praying for those he hurt and the court should do whatever the court feels is appropriate.

After the hearing, Sayers said he was satisfied with the sentence, and noted that by signing a plea agreement, Harzinski was sparing the victims from having to testify at a trial.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, the father became suspicious of Harzinski after his 16-year-old son “shut down” in response to a request that he babysit for Harzinski and stay the night.

The teen told his father that Harzinski had touched him inappropriately three or four times. Another victim, an 11-year-old boy who heard this, stated Harzinski had touched him four to six times.

In an interview at the Child Advocacy Center on March 20, the first victim said Harzinski touched him four times last year at his residence.

The first time occurred after Harzinski allowed him to play a baseball game on his phone. He said Harzinski told him to take his pants off and then stroked him.

He reportedly told the teen to “just let it happen. It’s fine, no one will ever know.”

At another time, Harzinski assaulted him while he was babysitting for Harzinski’s daughter. While his daughter was sleeping, Harzinski grabbed the victim by the wrist and forced him to remove his pants, the teen said.

There were two additional times that Harzinski did this, the victim reported.

Harzinski bought the victim a pack of baseball cards and told him “you owe me big time.” He tried to buy the victim other items, but the victim told investigators he declined because he “did not want to owe Harzinski anything.”

Also, on March 20, the second victim was interviewed at the CAC.

He said Harzinski took him to a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game and they decided to spend the night. He told the boy he would take him to the Pittsburgh Zoo in the morning.

At the hotel, Harzinski “forced him to undress and lie on the floor nude.” He then touched him and performed a sex act on the victim who said he “did not want to do it.”

Harzinski then reminded him that he bought him a Pirate blanket, a shirt, a watch and had taken him places, so he had to allow him to do this.

This victim said that Harzinski assaulted him at the Little League World Series in Williamsport and at his apartment in Curwensville three to five times.

In his interview with police, Harzinski admitted to assaulting the 10-year-old boy, and to possibly touching the older boy at his apartment, when he was drunk, according to the report.

Harzinski was fired from his coaching position not long after the charges were filed.

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