HOLLIDAYSBURG - A former Blair County judge on probation for the indecent assault of an 18-year-old high school senior objected Monday to a proposed probation condition partway through his sentence that would limit his contact with juveniles.
Attorney Richard Behrens told a visiting senior judge from Clearfield County that such a condition would be "grossly unfair" to his family in the Tyrone area because so many young people, including his 13 grandchildren, often visit his family's house.
Behrens asked Senior Judge John K. Reilly, who sentenced Behrens in August to two years' probation on his no-contest plea, to reject the parole conditions proposed by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole.
Robert Dombrosky of Altoona, an agent for the state board, said his department supervises many people on state and local parole and probation.
He said the board wanted to impose conditions on Behrens that are being imposed on many other defendants, in order to have a uniform set of standards statewide for individuals on probation or parole.
Some other potential provisions that Dombrosky requested that Reilly impose as conditions for Behrens' probation would include regular polygraph examinations, not being allowed to enter an adult book store or a massage parlor, or not being able to call a telephone sex hot line.
Behrens indicated he could agreed to those conditions, but he strenuously objected to the non-contact with juveniles provision. He told Reilly it would interfere with efforts to bring his family back together.
"We are a very close family and get together for everything under the sun," he said.
Behrens said he has just over 13 months to go on probation and was surprised to suddenly receive a list of probation conditions to be imposed by the state, especially because the proposed conditions were for defendants convicted of abusing minors.
A person in Pennsylvania is considered an adult at age 18.
Reilly told Dombrosky to check with his department to determine what conditions might be imposed on defendants who committed crimes against adults and asked him to report back this week if there are standard conditions that should apply to Behrens.
Dombrosky said Behrens has "adjusted very well" to state probation requirements, noting he has been "compliant and open."
Behrens was a Blair County judge for several years in the early 1980s but left the bench when a minor victim contended he committed indecent assault on her.
The charges were dismissed when she informed prosecutors she did not want to testify.
In April 2008, Behrens was arrested by state police for indecent assault of an 18-year-old.
Representing himself, Behrens, who said he specializes in the practice of family law, told Reilly that he undergoes regular counseling and is involved in many religious activities. He said he was "deeply, deeply sorry" for his actions.
Behrens has a hearing scheduled Aug. 10 before the Disciplinary Board of the state Supreme Court.
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.