Man, 36, convicted of raping child

HOLLIDAYSBURG – A jury took only 45 minutes on Thursday afternoon to find a 36-year-old Altoona man guilty of 15 counts of child rape and related offenses, charges that will put him behind bars for more than 25 years, predicted Blair County Assistant District Attorney Ilissa Zimmerman.

After the verdict, Zimmerman refused to speculate how many years Philip Reid McCready of the 1400 block of Third Avenue could receive when sentenced by Judge Elizabeth Doyle on April 17.

But a child rape offense carries with it a 25-year minimum, she said.

McCready was found guilty of three child rape offenses, four counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, three counts involving a continuing course of indecent assault, corruption of a minor, false imprisonment and other offenses.

The Altoona man is not done yet with the court system.

While the jury of six men and six women found him guilty of sexually abusing a young girl when she was 7 or 8 years old, he faces an additional charge of child rape and related offenses to a victim who was between 1 and 3 years old, which allegedly occurred

between March 2005 and October 2007.

McCready was informed by Doyle of his sentencing date and then was handcuffed by sheriff’s deputies and taken to Blair County Prison.

Zimmerman said McCready’s next case is on the county’s trial list but could not say when it might be scheduled.

The parents of the victim predicted she will be “relieved” by the verdict.

The mother and father in telling their daughter’s story said she lived in fear that McCready would harm her, and they said she just wanted him “out of the neighborhood.”

They believe she will now begin to feel safe.

The youngster testified Wednesday that McCready periodically came to her Allegheny Township neighborhood to visit his mother’s and father’s home. She lived nearby, and he asked her one summer day, possibly in 2009, to help him clean out his car.

That began what she said was two or three summers of abuse. She testified he did “bad things” to her and described to the jury what he did and what he made her do. She said he hurt her.

McCready’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Ed Ferguson, presented a defense in which McCready’s mother, Debra, disputed the girl’s story, contending McCready did not own a car in 2009 or 2010 and stating that he could not have used her home to abuse the girl because either she or her husband were at home most of the time.

After the verdicts were returned, Ferguson said he respected the jury’s decisions but disagreed. He would not discuss a possible appeal and said he had no further comment.

The defense attorney did persuade Doyle to dismiss many additional offenses. McCready originally was charged with six child rape and six involuntary deviate sexual intercourse offenses.

Ferguson argued the girl’s testimony didn’t support all those charges, and Doyle, who reviewed a transcript of the youngster’s testimony, concluded she had testified to only three of each offense in her testimony.

Zimmerman said she presented two child abuse experts, Heather Attia of Altoona and Dr. Paula George of the Children’s Resource Center in Harrisburg.

But she said the key to her case was the young victim, now 11.

The child, she said, was “well-spoken and able to outline some events that in her experience she would not normally know about.”

Zimmerman said the case was handled in a smooth fashion by Allegheny Township police and an on-call employee of Children Youth and Families on the day the girl first discussed the abuse with her parents.

The child was also interviewed by the Children’s Resource Center, a child advocacy unit in Harrisburg that specializes in enabling children to tell their stories of abuse and recommending treatment.

Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.