BEDFORD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ)– A man was found guilty of numerous sexual charges after a trial in Bedford County went from Monday morning to Tuesday night.
Bedford County District Attorney Lesley Childers-Potts said that 29-year old Howard Strait of Hopewell was found guilty on multiple criminal offenses including rape by forcible compulsion, rape of a child, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and other related offenses.
Strait was charged with numerous sexual charges in 2019 after a criminal investigation by Pennsylvania State Police, Bedford Crime Unit. During the investigation, it was found that the offenses were committed in Bedford, Huntingdon and Fulton Counties between the dates of January 2016 and June 2018.
Huntingdon County District Attorney David Smith, Fulton County District Attorney Travis Kendall and Childers-Potts agreed to have the charges filed in one criminal complaint for the offenses to be prosecuted in Bedford County, according to a press release from the Bedford County Office of the District Attorney.
The Commonwealth presented testimony from three juvenile victims along with the arresting officer Trooper Patrick Kelly, Childers-Potts said. The defense also presented testimony from multiple witnesses, including a character witness. Strait also took the stand in his own defense.
“The Office of the District Attorney is extremely pleased with the outcome of the proceedings,” Childers-Potts said. “My office has worked diligently for several months to ensure that justice would be done. I am proud of the work my office and the State Police did on this case. It was clear in the verdict that the jury took their time and carefully considered all the evidence and testimony presented to them during a long two days of trial. The defendant was found guilty of most of the criminal offenses that were presented to the jury for the verdict, however he was found not guilty on a handful of charges as well. The jury took their duty seriously, and rendered a fair and just verdict based upon the evidence and testimony. I am grateful for the assistance of my First Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Thomas, who completed research and assisted in the preparation of questioning of witnesses and preparation of my closing argument. Most of all I am grateful for the bravery of the victims that testified at trial. Without their determination, we could have never secured this positive outcome. They deserve justice, and because of their testimony, a sexual predator is off the streets.”
The Bedford County jury started to deliberate around 7 p.m. Tuesday night and returned with their verdict at about 10 p.m. After the verdict was reached, Judge Travis Livengood revoked Strait’s bail and he was then transported to the Bedford County Correctional Facility by the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office.