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Lehighton man given probation term on corruption charge

A Lehighton man was placed on probation on Tuesday in Carbon County court on a corruption of a minor charge for incidents that occurred in 2004.

Charles H. Kistler Jr., 42, who previously pleaded to one count of corruption of a minor for an incident on Oct. 3, 2004, was placed on probation for two years by Judge Joseph J. Matika.

The charge was added to the original complaint. In a plea deal with the district attorney’s office, a felony 2 count of statutory sexual assault was dropped.

Kistler was charged by state police at Lehighton with having a sexual relationship during a time frame of Oct. 3, 2004, to March 4, 2005, with an underage female.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Kistler engaged in a sexual relationship with the then 15-year-old minor. Kistler and the victim had sex multiple times in various locations in Palmerton from that point until after the victim’s 16th birthday on March 5, 2005. Kistler was 25 years old at the time.

The incident was initially reported to state police in March 2005 when the victim admitted to being involved in a sexual relationship with Kistler. The victim said that the first time they had sex was in Kistler’s vehicle along Fireline Road. The victim didn’t want to bring charges against Kistler because the two were still dating.

In April 2019, the victim contacted police and said that as an adult she realized it was wrong for Kistler to have had a sexual relationship with her as a minor, and she wanted to pursue criminal charges against him.

On Tuesday the courtroom was full of supporters of Kistler. Matika also acknowledged receiving numerous letters of support for Kistler.

One supporter told the court of Kistler’s involvement in the community as a youth coach and as a very active firefighter.

Kistler told the court, “I made a mistake.” He said he was young and not thinking. He said, “I screwed up.” He said the past two and a half years, since the charges were brought, have been difficult on him and his family. He said he has tried to be a good citizen and has been involved in many activities to help the community.

The victim was not present in court.

Matika said the letters he received in support of Kistler and all those present in the courtroom says volumes for the defendant and what type of person he is.

Matika, referring to a presentence investigation report prepared by the adult probation office said, “Sometimes good people do bad things.”

He said because of the report, letters and the people present in the courtroom it made his decision easier in deciding what sentence to impose. He said there were “no red flags” in Kistler’s background.

Kistler was also ordered to render 100 hours of community service, supply a DNA sample, get a mental health evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, have no contact with the victim, pay court costs of over $1,000 and pay a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation.