A town trusts its leaders, but now, after the sentencing of former Radnor Township Commissioner William Spingler, this community in Pennsylvania is having a hard time doing just that.
In June, Spingler was found guilty of indecent assault on a person with a mental disability.
The victim was a 103-year-old woman, who was also his relative by marriage.
According to ABC Action News, Spingler was the woman’s primary caregiver for years and since her move into a local nursing home, he’s reportedly frequently visited. The 75-year-old was caught fondling the woman, and allegedly did so multiple times.
Reports state that on December 16, 2016, police were called to a nursing home after an employee witnessed Spingler touch the woman’s chest in a sexual manner. Nothing came about, but the next day, employees saw the same thing happen again and, once more, called the police.
The criminal complaint, according to ABC Action News, stated that an employee saw the woman with “a blanket pulled up to her shoulders and witnessed Spingler using his right hand under the blanket to massage her chest area in an inappropriate way not to be mistaken for any assistance of any kind.”
And on December 23, just days after the first two incidents, a registered nurse reportedly informed police that she’d witnessed Spingler fondle the woman’s chest and that the victim attempted to pull away, however her physical condition and age prevented her from being able to defend herself.
After that third encounter, Spingler was arrested.
— Main Line Media News (@MLMediaNews) July 14, 2015
His defense was that he began fondling her for shock value, claiming the woman stopped recognizing him. But on Thursday, after being found guilty of three separate indecent assault charges, he issued an apology in court. According to The Associated Press, he said:
“I made a tremendous error. For that, I am truly sorry, but the thing I am most sorry for is the pain I’ve inflicted on my family.”
He was sentenced to two years probation and 60 days of home monitoring, but the prosecution is not happy with his punishment — and for one reason.
According to the AP, prosecutors were calling for prison time for Spingler, “comparing an assault on an elderly person to abuse of a child.”
The woman he violated suffers from dementia, leaving some to believe she was just as helpless and vulnerable as a minor. Despite Spingler’s conviction and sentencing, however, he reportedly does not have to register as a sex offender.
According to Bickerton Law, indecent assault is listed under Tier I offenses subject to a 15-year sex-offender registration, though it’s not stated as explicitly mandatory to register for a Tier I offense.
Spingler’s defense attorney, according to the AP, also argued that the former politician has no criminal record and referred to unspecified evaluations that pointed to the unlikelihood Spingler would re-offend.
Although Spingler has already been sentenced to his punishment, the prosecution has reportedly said they plan to appeal it and demand prison time — and with that, possibly his subjection to register as a sex offender.