City man faces child sex abuse charges
Police: Knisely allegedly assaulted 14-year-old girl
A 20-year-old Altoona man that police allege engaged in an ongoing illicit sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl that included a manifesto, a list of rules she was to follow and filmed sex, now faces charges.
Seth A. Knisely, 20, of 1901 15th Ave., was arraigned Monday morning on 195 criminal counts, including 131 felonies that range from statutory sexual assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse to filming a child sex act and possession of child pornography.
Bail was set by Magisterial District Judge Fred B. Miller at $150,000 cash bail.
According to the charges filed by Altoona police, the girl, who was 14 when the alleged sexual abuse began in February 2018, told investigators that her parents and she had “a tumultuous relationship and Knisely capitalized on this and befriended her and encouraged her to confide in him and acted as an emotional support for her,” Altoona police Detective Sgt. Terry Merritts wrote in the affidavit of probable cause in the case.
The girl revealed during a forensic interview at the Blair County Children’s Advocacy Center that Knisely manipulated her into the relationship that ultimately turned sexual.
She said she saw Knisely almost every day and “usually some type of sexual encounter would occur every time they were together,” police noted. These encounters took place in Altoona, Bellwood and in Gallitzin, Cambria County.
The girl said Knisely used his cellphone to video record sex with her and then sent her the video via Facebook Messenger. He also sent her nude pictures of himself and asked her to do the same, police noted.
She said Knisely told her he had an alter ego name of “Vlad” that he talked about and also wrote about in a notebook.
She said the notebook “was a manifesto and list of rules outlining what he expected of her and how he expected her to behave within their relationship,” police said in the charges. Knisely also gave her the notebook and encouraged her to write in it on occasion, she revealed.
Police said the girl also turned over a four-page letter that Knisely wrote to her that includes multiple references his “Vlad side” and how he really wants her and nothing else in his life.
“I really want to give you my Vlad side but I really need to know for sure that you truly just want and need me and no one else,” Knisely allegedly wrote, according to the charges.
“My Vlad side will take away all you have in people and friends and will make you focus on me and our future and nothing else,” Knisely continued in the letter. “And now back to talking about my Vlad side and rules. Like I said it’s a very controlling side, very jealous, very wanting, very needing and hella protective.”
Knisely then signed the letter, “Vlad,” police said.
Knisely was questioned by police Thursday and allegedly agreed to give a taped statement after waiving his Miranda rights.
Police contend Knisely admitted to having a sexual relationship with the girl and told the detective he “took it upon himself to act as a ‘caregiver’ to the victim because he disapproved of the way her parents were raising her,” Merritts wrote in the charges.
Knisely allegedly provided details about his sexual encounters with the girl and said it occurred about 60 times. Police said Knisely admitted to recording himself having sex with the girl five times and that he also admitted to sending her nude pictures of himself and taking pictures of her breasts and feet.
In an instance the girl also told investigators about, Knisely recounted getting caught in the back seat of his vehicle by a police officer in Bellwood and how the girl and he both told police they were sleeping. She was partially undressed when discovered, Altoona police said. That incident then led to an investigation by state police, according to the Altoona police charges.
Knisely also admitted to keeping a notebook and said he did create rules for the girl and that she liked following them. He told the detective he had since thrown it away because he didn’t want anyone to see what was written in it and that it had contained sexually graphic writings.
“Knisely said he knew what he was doing was wrong, but he had just got caught up in the whole thing and had become too close to the victim and had a difficult time ending the relationship,” Merritts wrote in the charges. Knisely then said he ended the relationship because it became “too stressful and there was too much drama,” police added.
The relationship spanned from Feb. 1, 2018, until April 1, 2019, according to police.
Knisely remains in Blair County Prison and is scheduled to appear at Central Court on Wednesday for a preliminary hearing.
Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.