Altoona protesters calling for change after sexual assault case involving local police officer

Local News

ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — A sexual assault case lead protesters to call for a change in Downtown Altoona on Sunday.

This comes after a plea deal made in a case that happened two years ago involving a police officer sexually assaulting an area woman. Protesters marched to the office of State Representative Lou Schmidt, to demand mandatory sentencing for similar cases.

Two years ago on June 25th, former Harrisburg police officer, Mitchell Moyer, pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a woman from Tyrone. As a part of a recent plea deal, he was charged with aggravated indecent assault without consent. This past June, Moyer was sentenced to probation.

The people at this protest say his sentence was too light.

Organizer, Sarah Manna says “This case started it. This case definitely sparked all of this happening and sparked our anger and sparked our concern for the legislation but after we started hearing stories from other people and talking. It’s more about just raising awareness,” said Sarah Manna, Sexual Assault Survivor and Volunteer Director for Progress for People of Color.

Protesters also put together a petition, asking that the law be changed to require a social worker to be present with police officers who are called to the scene of similar cases.

Some activists say they’ve been showing up at the courthouse daily, for 10 days to protest and write their messages in chalk, which they also plan to do on the way to the Office of Representative Lou Schmidt.

We spoke today to former Blair County District Attorney Rich Consiglio, who prosecuted the sexual assault case against Mitchell Moyer.

He said the victim worked with the prosecution the entire way through the case , nothing was done without plea deal and the proceeding.

She did not want to testify and she did not want the case to go to trial, she just wanted Moyer to be held accountable.

According to Consiglio, the charge Moyer pleaded to and the sentence he received, reflected what he did.

He added if this group wants the law changed, they need to talk to the legislature.

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