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Photo of Matt M. McClenahen
Photo of Matt M. McClenahen

Sex Offender’s Parole Violation Smacks of Poetic Justice

A man convicted of sexually violating two different drunk women while they were passed out, now finds himself back behind bars after passing out in public after a night of drinking. Rarely does a run of the mill probation or parole violation contain as much poetic justice as that found in the Centre County, Pennsylvania case of Joshua Bathgate. In two separate cases, the Bellefonte man stood accused of sexually btaking advantage of unconscious women. Within a month of his release from the Centre County Correctional Facility, Bathgate himself drank to the point where he passed out, and of all places, fell asleep on a bench on the corner of Allen Street and College Avenue, which is Penn State’s version of Times Square.

Joshua Bathgate managed to avoid a long state prison sentence, when he took a plea agreement, which resulted in a rape charge being dropped. Instead he plead guilty to aggravated indecent assault and several counts of indecent assault. Aggravated indecent assault generally entails penetration of the vagina without the victim’s permission, usually with the defendant’s fingers, while a nonconsensual, forceful penetration with the defendant’s penis would constitute the more serious crime of rape. Indecent assault entails an unwanted contact with an intimate part of the victim’s body, but with no penetration. In common parlance, it is usually referred to as “groping.” Pursuant to the plea agreement, Bathgate received a long county sentence of just less than one year, followed by a massive period of probation and parole supervision.

A standard condition of probation and parole supervision is that a defendant is not permitted to consume alcohol, even if the defendant is over 21 and even of the underlying offense had nothing to do with alcohol. Thus, Bathgate violated his parole when he was found drunk. He must now appear before Judge Pamela A. Ruest of the Centre County Court of Common Pleas, who will make the official determination that Bathgate violated parole. She will likely order him to serve an additional period of incarceration.

Matt McClenahen is a criminal defense lawyer in State College, Pennsylvania. He limits his practice to criminal law. He has extensive experience in probation and parole violation cases.

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