The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

March 7, 2014

Woman protests man’s plea, sentence

MERCER COUNTY — The young woman approached the judge tentatively, trembling, on the arm of a former policeman who was so touched by her story that it contributed to his decision to leave policing.

Her story is harrowing: two years of physical and sexual abuse. The man she accused of committing the crimes retorted that it never happened.

As she sees it, prosecutors believed his story more than hers’. She did not approve of the plea agreement the Mercer County District Attorney’s office reached with Cedrick D. Boyd: that he pled guilty to two counts of corruption of minors for actions that had nothing to do with her allegations of abuse.

Instead, Boyd admitted having the woman and another girl provide urine for him so he could pass drug tests.

Prosecutors agreed to ask that he be sentenced to probation as punishment.

“I don’t think that my opinion is being trusted,” the 18-year-old woman told Mercer County Common Pleas County Judge Robert G. Yeatts on Wednesday.

“Though it’s been three years, I still continue to deal with everything that happened,” said the woman, who was 15 when she first approached police in 2010.

She flashes back to specific incidents, some of which go back to 2009, she said.

“Depression, nightmares and anxiety are things I continue to struggle with,” she said. “After three years, everything is still fresh.”

The woman said she takes a number of medications to try to help her deal with her issues, but she now avoids “emotional connections” with people.

“I feel I will get hurt,” she said.

Through it all, the victim said she does not regret coming forward.

“I worry that if I hadn’t said anything it would have happened to someone else,” she said.

Former Hermitage police patrolman Jason L. DeJulia said he was deeply touched by her story – one that he wholeheartedly believed.

DeJulia noted that during his time at Keystone Adolescent Center, West Salem Township, and as a policeman, including as school resource officer posted at Hickory High School, he heard lots of heartbreaking stories from kids.

The woman’s “situation stands out for me as the worst, or one of the worst, I’ve had contact with,” DeJulia said.

Yeatts tried to assure the woman that the justice system hasn’t let her down.

“I want you to know your voice is being heard,” Yeatts said. “I can’t speak for the district attorney’s office, but I know they take this case seriously. The police are taking this case seriously.”

The judge said he thought a lot about whether to accept the plea. District Attorney Robert G. Kochems said he examined the case numerous times before agreeing to the plea.

Defense attorney Stanley T. Booker said he wanted people to understand that Boyd had a number of possible defenses he could have entered at trial.

Notably, DNA evidence – the specifics of where and when the sample was collected were not spelled out in court Thursday – show a match to someone other than Boyd, Booker said.

This case, as with all cases of this type, are “difficult” to prosecute, Yeatts said, noting that Kochems had acknowledged there was “some merit” to Boyd’s argument.

In the end, the judge said, he deferred to the prosecution recommendation.

“They know their case much better than I,” he said.

That doesn’t mean, the judge said, that he didn’t take into account the woman’s allegations, or that he didn’t find her believable.

“I want you to understand your input was heard,” Yeatts said. “You weren’t ignored.”

His sympathies, he said, lie with the victim.

“I have much difficulty building up any sympathy for you,” Yeatts told Boyd.

However, when the woman asked that Boyd be ordered to register as a sex offender, Yeatts said he could not do that. The crimes Boyd admitted were not sex offenses, he said.

“I want to apologize to what I pleaded guilty to,” Boyd said, adding that he sympathizes with the woman. “I should have known better. Other than that, I stand innocent as I have from day one.”

However, with two previous robbery convictions – one from when he was a juvenile – Boyd, 38, has spent 10 to 15 years of his life in some sort of state detention, he said.

Kochems said a factor in his decision was that Boyd has spent most of the last three years in jail, detained by the state for violating probation, and owes the federal government time – perhaps, three years – on other charges.

Booker added that the state will want another year from Boyd, although Kochems said his calculations don’t corroborate that.

Yeatts sentenced Boyd to 10 years’ probation with seven days’ credit.

While Yeatts made the sentence consecutive to any other sentence he is serving, Kochems said he figures the probation would officially start on the day of sentencing, which was his intention.

Boyd said he has a plan for the future.

“I plan to get married and move on,” he said.

Yeatts said he doubted that Boyd could function outside of a jail or prison.

“You’re going to get a probationary sentence but you don’t want to come back on a violation,” the judge said.

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