Lower Paxton man convicted of child rape

DA: Inmate had shank, planned shooting at Dauphin County Courthouse

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Tuesday, Dauphin County jury found Jonathan O’Brian guilty of 5 charges, one of which was for raping a child.

With a therapy dog, accompanying her to the witness stand, O’Brian’s nine-year-old victim’s testimony brought courtroom observers to tears as she describes the repeated sexual abuse O’Brian forced her to endure. 

Image of O’Brian

Despite her abuser sitting across the courtroom from her, and at times overcome by emotion, the victim recounted the details of the abuse she suffered while she was seven and eight years old. 

Chief Deputy District Attorney Seán McCormack argued to the jury in his closing, despite there being no DNA or medical evidence, the jury had all the evidence they needed to convict O’Brian from nine-year-old victim’s powerful testimony. 

After the verdict was read, Dauphin County Victim Witness Assistance Program’s Jessica Stoddard commented, “A little girl testified better than most adults and a jury that believed her, took pride in their decision.”   

On June 4, 2018, the then eight-year-old victim told a classmate that she was afraid to go home.  The next day the child’s teacher became aware of the situation and the school reported the suspected abuse to authorities. 

A joint investigation was conducted into the allegations by Chrissy King of Dauphin County Social Services for Children and Youth and Lower Paxton Police Detective Jeff Corcoran. 

During that interview on June 6, 2018, the victim disclosed in an interview, “First he talks about it, then he does it.” 

The victim revealed that she was “sick and tired of it happening again.”  The recording of that interview was played for the jury during the trial.   

Ellen Dyer, a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner at the Children’s Resource Center, said, the victim’s “testimony was extremely important to debunk a commonly held belief that there should be visible medical proof anytime a child discloses sexual penetration.”      

McCormack cited this case as yet another example of the great work that is done every day in Dauphin County in investigating allegations of child abuse.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 25 while O’Brian remains incarcerated at Dauphin County Prison pending sentencing.

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