CLAYSBURG - Police this week accused a Claysburg woman of serial child molestation, saying she raped and assaulted a series of preteens and young teenagers - even allegedly forcing one to sexually assault a 5-year-old girl while she watched.
Tabatha Partsch, also known as Tabatha Sossong, 39, of 367 Metzgar Lane faces 18 felony charges for alleged actions over the last year, including recording her alleged crimes with a cellphone and repeatedly exposing children to online pornography.
It's not yet clear how Partsch had personal access to so many minors; heavily redacted court documents don't indicate whether she had school-age children.
The first report came in September, police said, when a 14-year-old boy said he'd seen Partsch take a girl, also 14, into her bedroom and lock the door.
The report at the time was turned over to Blair County Children, Youth & Families, police said.
In late March, Greenfield Township police received copies of a daylong text conversation, allegedly between Partsch and a 12-year-old boy. Partsch told the boy to skip his school bus and sneak into her house - noting that she could hide him if his parents came looking, police said.
The conversation allegedly turned to sex; Partsch encouraged the boy to send graphic photos while she offered to send some of her own, police said.
Throughout March, police said, Partsch encouraged young boys to skip school and visit her at home.
"We can do stuff. Maybe touch each other," she allegedly told one.
Shortly before midnight on March 26, police from Greenfield, Blair and Freedom townships executed a search warrant at Partsch's home, seizing nine cellphones, a pair of computers and a Playstation 3 video game console. Later review by state police specialists revealed several nude photographs on the cellphones, court documents state.
Over the next two months, police interviewed several children who'd allegedly spent time at Partsch's house. A 14-year-boy told investigators that she'd shown him pornographic websites including some in which Partsch herself appeared, police said.
A 14-year-old girl maintained that she'd never been abused, saying she talked about "stuff" and played video games with Partsch and her husband while sitting on a bed in their home. The girl acknowledged that Partsch had given her cigarettes and alcohol, police said.
The most serious allegations against Partsch, however, stem from a recent police and child-services investigation in Milwaukee, the results of which Wisconsin authorities turned over to Greenfield Township police.
Two siblings, ages 11 and 14 who now live in Milwaukee, had stayed at Partsch's Claysburg home last summer, police said.
While at the house, Partsch ordered one, a young boy, into her bathroom and locked the door. There, she allegedly told him she planned to touch him sexually; when he resisted, she punched him in the face and threatened to have him arrested, police said.
She then allegedly raped the child, mocking him when he resisted.
"You're never going to be a man. Come on," she told him, according to police reports.
She repeatedly assaulted the child on multiple occasions, allegedly striking him and recording sexual encounters with her cellphone, police said.
"You don't know how many times I didn't want to do it," the child reportedly told investigators.
Partsch forced the boy to sexually assault a 5-year-old girl while she watched, police said, threatening to have the boy arrested if he refused.
"[The 5-year-old] cried when [the boy] touched her," police said.
The alleged victim told a social worker that Partsch frequently showed children disturbing online pornography, sometimes providing them alcohol in her basement - the "party place," as she allegedly called it.
Armed with a series of interviews and search warrant results, a police officer and a Blair County social worker interviewed Partsch on July 13 at her house.
Partsch claimed her cellphone had been taken - and apparently used for sexual conversations - noting that "she has had so many cellphones over the past year that she is not sure if that number belonged to her," arrest papers state.
She claimed not to know one of the alleged victims, police said, then backtracked. When asked whether children had seen pornography in her house, Partsch allegedly said her online account wasn't password-protected. Officers said she never denied letting children see pornography.
Police arrested Partsch Tuesday. She was held at Blair County Prison, where she remains in lieu of $150,000 bail.
Partsch faces charges including child rape, statutory sexual assault and aggressive indecent assault, in addition to five charges each of disseminating explicit material to minors and corrupting minors. She also faces lesser charges of furnishing alcohol and cigarettes to minors.
Partsch faces a preliminary hearing Thursday before Magisterial District Judge Craig Ormsby.
Asked whether charges would be filed against other adults in the case, Greenfield Township Police Chief Ron Givler said only that the investigation is not yet closed.
Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio said child abuse cases like Partsch's are often difficult to carry through trial, with child victims sometimes unable to remember specific dates and times. The fact that Partsch's alleged crimes took place fairly recently should help the prosecutors' case, he said.
Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.