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Jury convicts Effort man of raping girl, 14

Published January 12. 2018 06:25PM

An Effort man was found guilty of rape and sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl at the conclusion of a three-day jury trial on Thursday.

Joshua L. Leap was found guilty of one count of rape by forcible compulsion, graded as a felony of the first degree; one count of statutory sexual assault being more than 11 years older than victim, graded as a felony of the first degree; one count of sexual assault, graded as a felony of the second degree; one count of aggravated indecent assault by forcible compulsion, graded as a felony of the second degree; and one count of indecent assault by forcible compulsion, graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree.

State police were contacted in July of 2015 in regard to a sexual assault that had occurred during a family reunion at Leap’s uncle’s home off Breezy View Lane in Stroud Township on July 25 and 26.

According to the court, the victim was attending the reunion with her boyfriend, Leap’s 15-year-old cousin.

It was reported that Leap and other people at the party had been drinking throughout the day and night.

The teens went to sleep in a tent on the premises before midnight.

The victim recalled being awoken and sexually assaulted by Leap, who at the time was 28 years old with a fiancé who was 5 months pregnant.

The jury heard from various witnesses, the victim, PSP Lehighton troopers, and experts including therapists and nurses.

The jury returned a verdict in under three hours of deliberation.

Following the conviction, Judge Jonathan Mark modified Leap’s bail from $75,000 secured to $250,000 secured upon motion of Assistant District Attorney Julieane Fry, who prosecuted the case.

Sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. April 10.

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