Weissport police chief, second man charged with raping a child
Two Carbon County men, including Weissport’s police chief, have been charged with the alleged rape of a child back in 2005.
Borough police Chief Brent Getz, 27, of Lehighton, who was unanimously promoted to the post by borough council last month, and Gregory Edward Wagner Jr., 28, of Lehighton, were arrested by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday following a yearslong investigation. Getz is also employed as a police officer in several departments throughout the county, the Attorney General's Office states.
Getz and Wagner face charges of rape of a child; conspiracy, rape forcible compulsion; involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child; conspiracy, IDSI forcible compulsion; aggravated indecent assault of a child; conspiracy, aggravated indecent assault without consent; and indecent assault person less than 13 years of age.
Wagner also faces charges of simple assault and sexual exploitation of children.
“The defendants terrorized this young victim by assaulting her hundreds of times over seven years,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “My office will listen to survivors and prosecute anyone who sexually abuses children to the fullest extent of the law we are able — no matter how much time has passed. I’m grateful for the work of my agents to bring these predators to justice and prevent them from harming anyone else.”
According to the affidavit filed by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Norristown, the investigation began in May 2012 after ChildLine, Children and Youth Services, received a complaint that an 11-year-old child reported that when she was left alone with Wagner, he touched her inappropriately, and the child is afraid. She also reported years later that she had been repeatedly raped by Wagner and Getz several times a week, starting when she was 4. At the time of the rapes, Getz and Wagner would both have been teenagers.
Children and Youth Services notified Franklin Township police, who made arrangements for the child to be interviewed by the Children’s Advocacy Center in Scranton.
On May 16, 2012, the victim was interviewed on video by a forensic interviewer, at which time she said that Wagner, on multiple occasions, touched her inappropriately.
She also said that he offered her $5 to have sex with him, which she declined, and that he has also shown her pornography on his laptop.
The victim also said that Wagner sexually assaulted her multiple times.
On May 18, 2012, police interviewed Wagner at the Franklin Township police office, but after a few minutes, Wagner requested to stop his interview and speak with a lawyer.
On June 20, 2013, police again questioned Wagner in the presence of his attorney.
During the interview, Wagner denied ever showing the victim pornography or asking the girl to perform a sexual act on him. He also denied sexually assaulting her.
Following that investigation, no charges were filed at that time against Wagner.
The investigation reopened in 2015 and police prepared a criminal complaint against Wagner, but the complaint was dismissed by a magisterial district judge due to a paperwork error. The charges were never refiled.
In August 2018, a Franklin Township police officer revisited the case and interviewed the victim.
During that interview, the victim disclosed that Getz also had raped her during the time period. The Carbon County District Attorney’s Office then referred this investigation to the Office of Attorney General in September 2018 for Getz and January for Wagner.
On Nov. 7, the victim was interviewed by the AG’s office regarding the encounters.
The victim said that Wagner began his assaults when she was about 4.
She said that at around the age of 6, Wagner and Getz began raping her.
Getz was a friend of Wagner, and participated in the assaults when he was at Wagner’s home.
The rapes took place several times a month for about six years.
A brief cellphone video of one encounter between Wagner and the victim was provided to officers from a relative of the victim who said she took the video a few months after the initial complaint was made because no one believed her and she wanted to show people proof.
On Tuesday, a search warrant was executed at Wagner’s residence at which time agents obtained several electronic devices, including a cellphone from Wagner.
A preliminary review of the phone showed that numerous search terms indicative of child pornography searches were entered into Google.
Officers interviewed Wagner at the Franklin Township Police Department, at which time Wagner admitted having sexual contact with the victim on at least three occasions.
Wagner also said that on one occasion, Getz also engaged in sexual acts with the victim while Wagner played video games in the room.
Both Getz and Wagner are currently lodged in the Carbon County Correctional Facility in lieu of $250,000 straight bail, and are scheduled to have a preliminary hearing April 3 before District Judge William Kissner of Palmerton.