Hunlock Creek man pleads guilty in decades-old sex abuse case

Patrick Kernan, The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
·1 min read

Mar. 2—WILKES-BARRE — A Hunlock Creek man pleaded guilty on Monday to charges in connection with decades-old sexual assault cases, having occurred between 1980 and 1984.

Richard Garnett, 68, entered a guilty plea on two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with an individual less than 16 years old. Garnett entered the plea during a hearing before Luzerne County Judge Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr. on Monday morning.

Garnett had been accused of sexually assaulting two underage victims, now adults, in the early 1980s. The investigation into Garnett began in 2018 when a woman told state police during a separate interview that another woman known to her had been sexually abused by Garnett.

This woman, who the Times Leader is not identifying as it does not identify victims in sex crime cases, eventually told police that Garnett had assaulted her some time before she was in middle school, but was unable to confirm her specific age. She said she could not be sure how many times it happened, due to repressing much of the memory, but that it definitely happened at least once.

The investigation led to another woman who also said she had been assaulted by Garnett, taking place roughly between when she was 10 and 13. She said she came forward to Nanticoke Police when she was 14, but was never interviewed by state police.

After the guilty plea, Assistant District Attorney Angela Sperrazza argued to have Garnett's bail revoked, but Sklarosky denied the motion, in part due to how long it has been since the assaults actually happened.

Sklarosky said the court would file an order to establish when Garnett's sentencing hearing will occur.