Altoona man, former teacher pleads guilty to sexual abuse of teen

Local News

BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Blair County District Attorney’s Office announced that an Altoona resident and former music teacher pled guilty to sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy in 2007.

Richard Kuiawa, 81, pled guilty to every count charged against him including three counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse of a child less than 16-years-old and a number of other charges of aggravated assault, according to the District Attorney’s office.

The investigation began in 2018 when the victim reported his abuse to the police. The victim told police that when he was 14, Kuiawa befriended him and began giving him private music lessons in Kuiawa’s home. The victim told police that Kuiawa performed oral sex and other acts on him. Once the abuse ended, Kuiawa continued to groom and manipulate the victim, according to the District Attorney.

Kuiawa’s trial was scheduled to begin next week but he admitted to the sexual abuse he committed before the judge today. The guilty plea on all charges was offered in exchange for one to two years of incarceration with a consecutive 20 years probation.

The prison sentence reflects the victim’s wishes that Kuiawa admits to his crimes and takes responsibility for what he did, but not have a lengthy sentence that would make it so he would likely die in prison, Blair County District Attorney Peter Weeks said.

With his conviction, Kuiawa will become a Megan’s Law offender who will be required to register his address
and employment information with the Pennsylvania State Police for the remainder of his lifetime. That
plea was crafted in accordance with the victim’s wishes.

The case illustrates that with child sexual assault cases, it is the norm rather than the exception that disclosure is delayed, First Assistant District Attorney Nichole Smith said.

“These cases make clear that child predators are able to lurk among us in plain sight and that victims struggle in the devastation of their abuse long after the acts are over,” Weeks said.

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