By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
LACKAWANNOCK TOWNSHIP — Robert A. Ekis Sr. said Friday he did not think he was guilty of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.
However, Ekis, 34, of 1356 Bend Road, Lackawannock Township, said it’s possible he did commit the crime and just doesn’t remember it because of alcohol consumption.
“I’m sorry,” Ekis told Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher J. St. John. “It will never happen again.”
The assault occurred in June 2012 at a home in the 3000 block of Springwood Drive, South Pymatuning Township, but was not reported to police until Feb. 28.
Ekis pleaded guilty Oct. 15 to a charge of indecent assault.
St. John, who sentenced Ekis to 11 1/2 to 23 months in jail with 210 days’ credit, said he received letters in support of Ekis that painted the victim as the aggressor, while others wanted the book thrown at him.
“Apparently, this episode was caused a split in the family,” St. John said.
The girl has experienced behavioral problems, anger issues, fear and nightmares as a result of Ekis’ behavior, he said. The girl reported feeling “ashamed” and “disowned” by some family members, St. John said.
The girl’s father told St. John be feels betrayed by Ekis’ actions.
“He was one of my best friends,” the man said. “I took him into my home. Now, I’m dealing with the aftermath.”
Ekis, who is illiterate, a former crack addict and a victim of child abuse, was not found to be a sexually violent predator by the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, but will have to register as a sex offender for 25 years.