City man on trial for alleged assault of minors

Beach faces multiple counts of sex offenses

HOLLIDAYSBURG — An Altoona man is on trial this week in Blair County Court where two young women have accused him of sexually assaulting them when they were between 14 and 17 years old.

Richard W. Beach, 42, has been challenging the allegations since his July 16, 2017, arrest after an investigation prompted Altoona and Logan Township police to file multiple counts of sexual offenses.

Those offenses include rape by forcible compulsion, aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent exposure and indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old.

Witnesses who testified Monday and Tuesday have included both women, one of whom disclosed the assaults to a teacher, and another who disclosed the assaults to her mother.

The mother, who had a 16-year relationship with Beach, told the jury that Beach was verbally abusive toward her, and when they went to buy a van that they both wanted, he agreed to purchase it — with a requirement.

“He had to have anal sex with me for six months whenever he wanted,” the mother said in explaining the requirement.

“Wasn’t that just a joke?” standby defense attorney Scott N. Pletcher later asked the mother during cross-examination.

“No,” the mother replied flatly.

The mother also testified that the same subject came up when her daughter revealed allegations against Beach.

Fighting back tears as she referred to learning of the allegations, she said she re­called her daughter’s words: “I know what you had to do to get the van because he made me do the same thing.”

The other woman accusing Beach of the allegations told the jury that he told her that he wanted to help her understand how to please a man. She said she kept the activity secret for a long time, then revealed to a friend what was happening, and later, to a teacher at the Greater Al­toona Career and Technol­ogy Center.

“She was feeling a tremendous amount of stress,” teacher Dodie Amigh told the jury about her student’s revelation.

Smith and First Assistant District Attorney Pete Weeks, who called several witnesses to testify Monday and Tuesday, are expected to call remaining prosecution witnesses today, including the police officers who conducted an investigation.

Beach, who elected to represent himself with Pletcher’s assistance as standby counsel, has indicated that he also desires to call witnesses and take the stand. The trial is scheduled to last through Friday.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.