Stoystown man gets mixed verdict in child sexual assault case

October 17, 2018 GMT

A jury of six men and six women deliberated for 1 1/2 hours Monday afternoon before delivering a mixed verdict in a child sexual assault case.

After one day in what was to be a two-day trial, Michael David Peifer, 34, Stoystown, was found not guilty of two counts of aggravated indecent assault and guilty of two counts each of indecent assault and corruption of minors. He is scheduled to be sentenced at 1 p.m. Dec. 4 by Somerset County President Judge D. Gregory Geary.

Assistant District Attorney Catherine Ann Primavera called three witnesses, including the girl, who is now 8. She was 6 when the incidents occurred in 2016 at a residence in Quemahoning Township. State police brought charges against Peifer on Oct. 11, 2016.

Defense attorney James Patrick Sheets, of Pittsburgh, did not put any witnesses on the stand.

According to court documents, the girl told her mother that Peifer had touched her “girl parts” while she was swimming on Aug. 11, 2016. She said it was not the first time he had touched her inappropriately.

During deliberations, the jurors returned to the courtroom one time with a question before making their final decision.

Peifer will be evaluated by a member of the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board to help determine whether he should be sentenced as a sexually violent predator. A person with the designation is subject to both the registration and community notification requirements of Megan’s Law, according to District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser.