Softball coach waives hearing in sexual abuse case

Carlisle/West Shore

A Carlisle man who coached a traveling girls softball team is headed to trial on charges he sexually or indecently assaulted four of his players.

Joseph V. Sullenberger, 48, waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Wednesday and allowed all charges to proceed to Cumberland County Court, according to court records.

A formal arraignment was scheduled for February 14. Sullenberger’s bail at Cumberland County Prison, denied after his arrest last month, was set at $750,000, which he failed to post.

By waiving the hearing, Sullenberger did not admit guilt but conceded that prosecutors have enough evidence for a trial.

Sullenberger was a coach for the Susquehanna Valley Slam. He also coached through private lessons at Central Penn Sportsplex in Carlisle.

Carlisle police said a juvenile female reported a sexual assault allegation against Sullenberger, her softball hitting coach, in December. The girl told police that the sexual offenses occurred while she was at practice with Sullenberger at Central Penn Sportsplex.

Police said they identified three more victims during the investigation and they believe there may be others.

Sullenberger is charged with 10 felony counts, including one count of sexual assault, two counts of aggravated indecent assault, three counts of corruption of minors, three counts of sexual assault by a sports official, and one count of hindering apprehension or prosecution.

He also faces five misdemeanor counts of indecent assault.

The Carlisle School District has said the charges are unrelated to Sullenberger’s employment as a softball coach in the district. He was placed on immediate leave when the district learned of the investigation.

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