PERRY COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — A judge here has formally revoked bail for 60-year-old Barry Bostwick, who remains missing after not showing up in court to be sentenced on dozens of counts of sexually assaulting a child who was less than 13 years old.
A jury convicted Bostwick in June, but he remained free on the same $50,000 bail he posted after being arraigned in 2021.
Why was someone already convicted and considered “armed and dangerous” — and scaring at least a few hikers off the Appalachian trail near Duncannon, where the Perry County Sheriff’s Office says he could be hiding — free at all, let alone on $50,000 bail?
“He did have more of a bail initially, and then a request was made to the court, at which point it was modified,” Perry County District Attorney Lauren Eichelberger said.
Defense attorneys made the request, she said. How much was it originally? Eichelberger said she didn’t know offhand. abc27 News asked if we could give her some time to research that and respond.
“It should be a matter of public dockets,” Eichelberger said.
The docket doesn’t appear to show bail being set higher than $50,000.
Isn’t $50,000 low for a person with Bostwick’s record and charges?
“Right, but I’m not the individual who sets bail, so I can’t comment any further,” Eichelberger said.
Judges set bail. (Kenneth Mummah, Perry County’s president judge, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.)
But “although the prosecuting attorney doesn’t set bail, the fact of the matter is, the prosecuting attorney always takes a stand with respect to bail, particularly when there is a heinous, serious crime like this,” said John E. Jones III, president of Dickinson College and a retired federal judge.
In Pennsylvania, Botswick “had a constitutional right to bail,” Jones said, but a prosecutor could ask for the bail to be set at a higher level or for it to be revoked.
“I can tell you this,” Jones said. “The judge didn’t want this guy to jump bail, and he’s not feeling very good about it. And this defendant, when found — and hopefully he will be found — is going to have to appear in front of that same judge. And probably things are not going to go well” for Bostwick in terms of the sentence he receives.
Dimitri Zozos, a bail bondsman, said bail-setting practices vary among the 25 judges with whom he interacts in Dauphin and Cumberland counties. But that doesn’t mean they’re random.
“There is a rhyme or reason,” Zozos said. “And sometimes there are answers for those low bails, where somebody may be cooperating with the authorities.”
As for Bostwick, “Our request now is to revoke that bail,” Eichelberger said.
The judge granted the request.
Perry County sheriff’s deputies continue asking anyone who knows where Bostwick might be to call them at (717) 582-5123 — or to contact Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers anonymously by calling 1-800-4PA-TIPS (8477) or using this form.