Smethport man ruled SVP, then sentenced

BY ROB ANDERSEN

randersen@timesobserver.com

A hearing was held in the Jackson Courtroom on Thursday afternoon to first determine if Allen Burnett, 21, of Smethport is a sexually violent predator, and then sentence him accordingly.

Brenda Manno, a Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders board member, was the only person to testify.

She noted that the board reviewed the case for a number of reasons, such as the number of victims, the amount of time over which he committed the offenses, the age of the five victims and the fact that he held down one of them and threatened to hurt people she loved if she said anything about the attack, which constitutes unusual cruelty.

She also said that Burnett provided alcohol to at least two victims, adding that he had one tell his mother that she was older, which proved he knew she was young and tried to hide the fact.

Manno testified that Burnett met one on Facebook,and “maintained and promoted sexual relationships with them.”

“I have a reasonable degree of certainty that he meets the criteria for a sexually violent predator,” she added.

Burnett’s attorney, Robert Kinnear, asked in cross-examination, “He didn’t use force?”

She replied, “He did use force.”

When asked how much of a factor unusual cruelty was, she said, “Cruelty was significant, but not the only factor.”

“In my opinion, he is much more likely than not to continue to re-offend,” she said.

Manno also said that a psychological examination indicated Burnett exhibited symptoms of paraphilia, specifically the sexual attraction to children between the ages of 13 and 16, the ages of all five of his victims.

Judge Maureen Skerda said, “The testimony was uncontroverted, and the court does find that because of multiple victims over two years that he did engage in sexual acts and was acquainted with the victims, gave at least two of them alcohol and did display unusual cruelty.”

She acknowledged that Burnett did not have a juvenile record and his only other adult offenses were moving violations.

Skerda also noted that he has not participated or received any therapy or counseling, was likely to re-offend and “suffered from paraphilia which overrode his ability to control his sexual activities.”

She concluded that Burnett is a sexually violent predator.

Before sentencing, Kinnear said that Burnett “was very a immature individual when I first met him… I don’t think he will be the same person at 25 that he was at 20.”

He asked Skerda to sentence Burnett in the standard range.

Assistant District Attorney Caleb Gnage disagreed, and asked for consecutive sentences, and noted since that Burnett was caught with contraband while in the McKean County Jail and placed in lockdown for five days, that his sentence should include a drug and alcohol evaluation.

Burnett apologized to the court, to the victims and their families, and to his family. He admitted to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the offenses were committed.

Skerda then read the sentences and ordered:

On the first felony count of statutory sexual assault, $2,050 in fines and costs, submit to a DNA test, eight to 14 months in a state correctional institution, to undergo and comply with sexual offenders therapy, and one year of probation.

On the second felony count of statutory sexual assault, $2,175 in fines and costs and six to 12 months additional prison time.

For a count of felony corruption of minors, $1,950 in fines and costs, six to 12 months, sexual offenders counseling and to undergo DNA testing.

For a misdemeanor count of corruption of minors, $325 in fines and costs and three to 12 months in prison, consecutively.

For a final felony count of corruption of minors, which Skerda said was the most egregious, $950 in fines and costs with 12 to 24 months of incarceration.

She said all the sentences were to run consecutively for an aggregate of 35 to 76 months, with credit for 291 days of time served.

Skerda told Burnett that he is a Tier III Megan’s Law offender, which is for life, and must register with the Pennsylvania State Police listing any and all names or aliases, all residences including temporary lodging, all internet identification such as Facebook or email, all vehicles including boats and aircraft, his passport and all phone numbers.