Richard A. Behrens, 65, of Tyrone is charged with indecent assault of an 18-year-old stemming from an April 3 incident in Snyder Township, according to records available Monday in the office of Magisterial District Judge Fred Miller.
Behrens has been sent a summons by state police charging him with one count of indecent assault, a second-degree misdemeanor.
Court documents indicate that Behrens knew the alleged victim.
Behrens did not respond to calls for comment made to his law office at Bird Cage Walk in Hollidaysburg.
State police charge that Behrens was driving with the 18-year-old when he stopped the car on Decker Hollow Road in Snyder Township and asked her for a hug. He then allegedly indecently assaulted her.
In the days after the incident, a police affidavit stated, Behrens called the woman, stating in a phone message, ‘‘I just am so concerned about you, so concerned for you.’’
He told her that he didn’t ‘‘want five seconds of stupidity and thoughtlessness on my part to wreck everything” and, he added, “I just love you.”
‘‘I’m so sorry. I just can’t tell you how much I am distraught. It is driving me crazy,’’ his message said.
When Behrens was interviewed, he told police he touched the woman, but not in attempt to sexually arouse himself or her.
Police sent Behrens a summons, and the next step is for Miller or another magistrate judge to set up a preliminary hearing.
Miller is considering recusing himself from the case because Behrens is so well known locally.
Behrens has been an attorney in Blair County for 35 years. He was a judge of the Court of Common Pleas until October 1986, when he left the courtroom during a case, never to return to the bench.
He soon resigned, citing ‘‘personal reasons.’’
Several weeks afterward, he was charged with indecent assault of a child. The charges eventually were dismissed by a magisterial district judge appointed from outside the county to hear the case.
The young victim refused to testify, despite efforts by then- District Attorney William J. Haberstroh to have juvenile court order her to tell her story.
That victim and another girl appearing in a separate proceeding before Blair County Judge Norman D. Callan in the 1990s said they experienced ‘‘emotional distress and strife’’ as the result of their relationships with Behrens.
They underwent counseling, as did Behrens.
In 1989, he testified on behalf of a Pittsburgh-area pastor who molested two young girls, pointing out that he and the pastor were part of the same counseling group. At the time, Behrens stated he was a former ‘‘sex addict.’’ He said he recovered by acknowledging his problem.
District Attorney Richard A. Consiglio said his office will prosecute the Behrens case.
‘‘I don’t think I want to comment much on this right now,’’ Consiglio said Monday afternoon.
Behrens has remained an attorney in good standing in Blair County, even though several judges and officials were aware of his past problems.
He represents Dr. Larry Adams, a Philipsburg-area physician who is attempting to reopen the closed Philipsburg Hospital.
Mirror Staff Writer Mark Leberfinger is at 946-7462; e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468; e-mail him at email@example.com.