‘To this day, I still don’t know what I was thinking’: Man sentenced in Centre Co. on sex assault charges

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Bellefonte, Centre County, Pa- A Clinton County man who plead guilty to sexual assault charges received his sentence Tuesday.

Robert Harpster, 24, will serve between 22 and 48 months in state prison, and was deemed a tier three sex offender… meaning he is a registered sex offender for life.

This sentence was handed down after police say Harpster, in July 2016, posted an ad on Craigslist to have sex with a teenager. An agent from the State Attorney General’s Office responded to the ad pretending to be a 14-year-old girl. Harpster agreed to meet up with her, but instead was met by police.

Harpster was charged with eight felonies and one misdemeanor, but pleaded guilty to one felony count of unlawful contact with a minor and attempted aggravated indecent assault. The remaining six felonies were dropped or changed.

Police say Harpster admitted to posting the Craigslist ad, and said he wanted to have sex with the (fictitious) girl. Harpster also, according to police, sent several sexual text messages before he thought he was meeting a the fake girl.

In court Tuesday, Harpster admitted what he did was wrong. He apologized and said, “To this day, I still don’t know what I was thinking.”

Before Harpster’s sentence, his defense lawyer Tom Hooper called his client’s actions a “brief lapse in judgement.”

Harpster previously worked for Port Matilda and Moshannon Valley EMS. He posted bail when he was originally charged in July 2016.

After that Harpster, before Tuesday’s sentence, worked at Meyer Dairy in College Township, Centre County.

He’s been receiving therapy over the past three years and was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Information in this story was provided by WTAJ’s news partner, The Centre Daily Times. A link to their full story on this is available here.

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