LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Joseph T. Rohrer, 49, a convicted sex offender, used an alias to get volunteer work with children and will serve at least 15 years in prison for abusing a pre-teenage child.
Rohrer recently pleaded guilty in Lancaster County Court to several felonies, including sexual assault by a volunteer and failure to register under Megan’s Law.
Lancaster County District Attorney Gregg Stedman says, “The whole point of the Megan’s Law registration list is to ward off situations like this, but it also relies in part on the person being honest about where they’re living and where they’re working.”
Rohrer was convicted in 2013 of possessing child pornography and required to register his whereabouts under Megan’s Law. He provided an alias to Hope’s Haven when he applied for volunteer opportunities.
The victim was a youth camp participant.
Rohrer admitted to having inappropriate contact with the child more than a dozen times, occurring in his Rapho Township home in November while volunteering at the nonprofit in Bainbridge.
When accepted, Rohrer did not register that employment information, as required by Megan’s Law. The following would have notified the authorities of his whereabouts.
In exchange for the plea, Rohrer will serve 15 to 30 years in prison, in accordance with an agreement arranged by Assistant District Attorney Amy Muller. Rohrer must register his whereabouts with police for the rest of his life.
Muller said Rohrer deliberately circumvented the Megan’s Law registry system so he could access children.
The victim’s family did not wish to endure a trial, leading to the plea resolution.
“My understanding is they did a Google search on him and it did not come up. I’m sure they absolutely didn’t foresee this or intend for any of this to happen,” adding, These cases are disturbing and this one slipped through and we have a lot of people are paying the price for it.”
Despite not doing a full background check, Stedman says Hope’s Haven is not criminally responsible.
“Do all your due diligence in checking people’s backgrounds, because now look at this mess. It’s not good for this organization and of course, you have a child who was a victim.”