HOLLIDAYSBURG - A Claysburg man serving state prison time for sexual offenses against children is asking for a defense expert to help him fight a recommendation that he be declared a violent sexual predator.
Patrick Partsch, 35, and his wife Tabatha Partsch, 40, were sentenced Nov. 8 to lengthy prison terms for the abuse of children who visited their Claysburg home in 2011 and 2012.
He received a sentence of eight to 28 years behind bars and is now housed at the State Correctional Institution at Greene.
Tabatha Partsch received the longer sentence, 15 to 30 years, which she is serving at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy.
While the couple already are serving their respective prison terms, one more step remains in the sentencing process.
Under Pennsylvania's Megan's Law requirements, a court must decide whether to declare the two violent sexual predators, which would require they register with police for life.
Patrick Partsch's attorney, Douglas Keating, in a petition filed in the Blair County Courthouse has reported that the Pennsylvania Sexual Offender's Assessment Board has evaluated Partsch and concluded he meets the criteria to be declared a sexually violent predator.
Keating is asking the Blair County Court to appoint a psychiatric expert for the defense to examine Patrick Partsch and determine if the state board's conclusions are accurate.
Patrick Partsch cannot afford to hire his own expert, but Keating said that indigent suspects in criminal cases are to have the same resources to defend themselves as someone who is able to afford an attorney and the hiring of experts.
Therefore, Keating is asking the court to appoint a defense expert for the Megan's Law hearing.
Without an expert, Keating said, it is almost assured Patrick Partsch will be found a predator.
The legal issue, Keating said, is whether Patrick Partsch "suffers [from] a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes him likely to engage in predatory sexual behavior."
A hearing on the request by Keating will be held April 21.
Patrick Partsch entered no-contest pleas to rape of a child, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault of a child younger than 13, indecent exposure, corrupting minors, disseminating explicit sexual material to a minor and conspiracy.
His case was heard by Blair County Judge Daniel J. Milliron.
A representative of the state sexual offenders board concluded that Patrick Partsch met the criteria for classification as a violent sexual predator.
The story of what occurred at the Partsch home emerged slowly in 2011 and 2012.
A 14-year-old boy reported to his mother that the Partsches went into a room with a child and locked the door.
Another mother discovered that pornographic movies and pictures had been taken of her son by Tabatha.
The couple also engaged in sexual activity with the children, it was charged.
Blair County Assistant District Attorney Jackie Bernard called the case "sad, disgusting, degenerate."
The father of two of the victims told the judge his children "were suffering really bad."
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.