Patton man charged in assault of 4-year-old

PATTON – Police arrested a Patton man Monday on multiple felony assault charges involving a 4-year-old girl.

According to police, Bruce Miller, 51, 1102 Fourth Ave., assaulted the daughter of his girlfriend on at least two separate occasions.

Borough Police Chief Vince Leppert wrote in a criminal complaint that he first learned of the incident Feb. 4 from the child’s grandmother.

The child allegedly told her grandmother on Jan. 29 that Miller touched her “in her bad area.”

Police said the child, her 7-year-old sister and their mother all live with Miller.

Leppert said when he spoke with the girl’s mother about the alleged abuse, she said the grandmother was reporting Miller in an attempt to regain custody of the two children.

According to police, the girl’s mother said the grandmother had filed for emergency custody of the children on similar abuse allegations in Armstrong and Indiana counties.

Child abuse claims typically are not available to the public.

Online court records searches show neither the mother nor Miller have prior criminal records in Cambria, Armstrong or Indiana counties.

The mother told police she didn’t believe the accusations against Miller but was willing to have her daughter undergo a forensic exam, police said.

Police arranged for a forensic interview Feb. 12 at Indiana County’s Child Advocacy Center, and the child was transported to the center by Miller. The girl’s mother and sister also were present.

Police said Miller was told a Children and Youth Services official would arrange for transportation home for the mother and the girls.

During the interview, the child told an investigator Miller touched her at least twice, and that he was exposed during the incidents, police said.

Police arrested Miller on Monday and transported him to the Cambria County jail. He faces four felony charges for aggravated indecent assault of a child and additional misdemeanor charges of indecent assault, indecent exposure and endangering the welfare of children.

He remained in jail Tuesday, unable to post 10 percent of a $100,000 bond.

A preliminary hearing and arraignment before Magisterial District Judge Michael Zungali had not yet been scheduled.