• The former Pennsylvania police chief was found guilty of multiple charges, including child rape, Thursday
  • His co-defendant pleaded guilty to child rape in November 2020 and agreed to testify against the ex-police chief
  • Both men await sentencing

A 30-year-old former Pennsylvania police chief accused of raping a child hundreds of times over a seven-year period starting when the victim was 4 years old was found guilty of several charges this week.

On Thursday, a jury found former Weissport police chief Brent Robert Getz, of Lehighton, Pennsylvania, guilty of one count each of rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, aggravated indecent assault of a child and indecent assault of a child under 12.

Getz's bail was immediately revoked, and he was taken to jail, the Associated Press reported.

"This verdict holds Brent Getz accountable for his horrific crimes against a child, and brought justice to a brave survivor who had the courage to come forward," Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement.

He continued, "As a police chief and public servant, Getz’s abhorrent actions betrayed the public’s trust and safety. He will never again be able to use a position in law enforcement to hurt people. My office will always stand up for our children and our most vulnerable, and hold bad actors accountable to the fullest extent of the law."

Getz and his friend and co-defendant, 31-year-old Gregory E. Wagner Jr., were arrested in 2019 for child rape charges involving the same victim. At the time, Getz was fired from his job as police chief in Weissport, a town of some 400 residents 77 miles (124 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia.

Wagner pleaded guilty to child rape in November 2020 and agreed to testify against Getz.

Both Getz and Wagner, who were adolescents when the abuse began, await sentencing.

The victim, whose name was not disclosed, had informed a substitute teacher at her elementary school in 2012 that Wagner had raped her, according to Getz's 2019 arrest affidavit. The victim was 11 at the time.

The substitute teacher informed authorities, and the Carbon County child welfare agency became involved. A nurse who examined the victim confirmed that the child’s symptoms and accounts were consistent with sexual abuse.

A Franklin Township police officer spoke with Wagner in May 2012, but Wagner stopped the interview after a few minutes and obtained a lawyer, according to the affidavit.

The same officer again questioned Wagner in June 2013, this time with his lawyer present, the affidavit said. Wagner denied allegations, and no charges were filed.

The victim recorded a brief cellphone video of Wagner having her watch pornography "a few months after the initial complaint was made against Wagner, because nobody believed her and she wanted to show people proof," Sean McGlinn, an agent with the Pennsylvania attorney general's office, wrote in Getz’s arrest affidavit.

A criminal complaint was filed against Wagner, but it was dismissed in 2015 by a district judge because of what the attorney general's office has described as a paperwork error.

The case dragged on until a Franklin Township officer "revisited" it in 2018 and asked the victim to come back in for an interview. At this time, the victim also disclosed that Getz, a friend of Wagner’s, had also sexually assaulted her, according to the attorney general’s office.

The victim said both men had sexually assaulted her hundreds of times, several times a week for about seven years, according to the arrest affidavit.

Wagner confessed in March 2019 to sexual assault of the child and implicated Getz.

Leslie Slingsby, executive director of Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center in East Norriton, an organization that helps respond when child abuse allegations are made, said the victim "went through more than she or he ever needed to, absolutely."

"These are cases that are heartbreaking because it has taken this child so long to get justice as well as for this child to ensure they were safe, for children in the community to be safe," Slingsby added.

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