The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

January 10, 2014

Appeals court supports ex-teacher’s sentence

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

JAMESTOWN — A state appellate court said Wednesday that a former Jamestown social studies teacher’s sentence for inappropriate conduct with two students was not excessive.

Kevin A. Defrancesco, 30, of Greenville, was sentenced Nov. 16, 2012, to 2 years, 3 months to 8 years in prison on charges of unlawful contact with a minor, sexual abuse of children and attempt to commit sexual abuse of children.

Defrancesco, who also had coached baseball and wrestling at Jamestown and was an adjunct professor at Thiel College, Greenville, admitted sending text messages to 13- and 14-year-old students that asked them to send him nude photographs of themselves; accepted nude photos from the 14-year-old; and sent two nude photos of himself to the 14-year-old in 2011.

In his appeal, Defrancesco argues Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas R. Dobson imposed a sentenced that was “clearly unreasonable, unduly harsh and manifestly excessive.”

Dobson “focused exclusively on the retributive aspects of sentencing and failed to adequately consider the needs for the protection of the community and the rehabilitative needs of (Defrancesco,)” Defrancesco said.

Defrancesco alleged Dobson failed to consider all the factors he is required to consider under the Sentencing Code, but a three-judge panel of state Superior Court disagreed.

Dobson outlined the specific crimes Defrancesco admitted committing, noted their impact on the victims and the community, discussed Defrancesco’s substance abuse and mental health issues, and acknowledged Defrancesco’s efforts to rehabilitate himself.

“When you balance the effect on the community and the seriousness of the offenses, this does require total incarceration,” Dobson concluded.

Superior Court said Dobson considered the factors he was required to consider and was within his authority to impose the final sentence.