Somerset County District Attorney charged with rape

Pennsylvania

SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ)– The Somerset County district attorney was taken into custody Wednesday and faces serious charges of sexual assault, including rape.

Jeffery Thomas, 36, of Windber, faces charges after a Sept. 18 incident at a residence in Windber Borough where he physically and sexually assaulted a woman, according to state police.

Police investigated the sexual assault report in the Windber Borough that happened approximately at 11:30 p.m. After interviewing the woman, police learned that Thomas contacted her through social media.

Thomas reportedly messaged the woman through Snapchat late Saturday night and she told investigators he had a habit of getting in touch with her and to start a sexual relationship periodically over the past several years. She rebuffed his advances and she was told by a former partner he would drive around her neighborhood.

On Sept. 18, Thomas entered the woman’s house after he sent a Snapchat message saying that he was arriving in a few minutes. She responded by saying Thomas was not welcome into the house. Minutes later Thomas walked into the house holding cans of beer, according to a statement from the woman.

After repeatedly telling Thomas he was not allowed to stay, the woman reportedly slapped him. Police say Thomas then hit her in the face and caused her nose to bleed. Thomas would then proceed to sexually and physically assault her.

The woman was able to push Thomas off and ran to the second floor of the house. When she came back downstairs, she said Thomas was seen masturbating on the couch.

After she told Thomas to leave again, he reportedly grabbed her by the hair and neck and asked if she was going to call the police. The woman told Thomas if he would leave then the police would not be called. Thomas then left the house.

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On Sept. 21, police made a search of the home and found the cans of beer and clothing that the victim was wearing prior to the assault.

“The charges this defendant is facing for a violent attack are deeply disturbing. Mr. Thomas is entrusted by the public to uphold the law and serve as a voice for victims,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “I commend the bravery of the victim that has come forward — that is never an easy thing to do, especially when your abuser is a powerful elected official. Today is a reminder that no one is above the law.”

The Somerset Board of Commissioners released a statement saying they are aware of the charges pending against Thomas but offered no additional comment.

This is not the first time that Thomas has had incidents with the law. In October of 2020, Thomas also faced charges of disorderly conduct and harassment.

Pittsburgh-based defense attorney Ryan M. Tutera, representing Thomas, said, “Right now, these are allegations.”

“Jeffrey is entitled to the presumption of innocence. He’s entitled to fairness. He’s entitled to due process. We ask the public not to come to any conclusion about the matter and allow him to have a fair determination of these allegations.”

Thomas faces charges of rape, indecent assault, strangulation, simple assault, and criminal trespass and currently awaits a preliminary hearing scheduled for Sept. 29.

He’s now in Cambria County Prison with a bail set at $5,000.

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