Trio’s prison sentences upheld
Attorney: Trial evidence videos ‘burned corneas’
Long prison sentences handed down to three Clearfield County men who sexually abused animals on their Munson farm have been upheld by the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
In an opinion issued late last week, a panel of Superior Court judges concluded that Clearfield Common Pleas Judge Paul E. Cherry did not abuse his discretion in sentencing each of the defendants to a term of 20 to 41 years in a state correctional institution.
The three men — Marc Thomas Measnikoff, 36; Matthew Joseph Brubaker, 34; and Terry James Wallace, 42 — were joint owners of land in Munson Township.
Measnikoff and Wallace owned campers and lived on the property.
According to a summary of the case in the opinions issued by the three-judge panel, each of the men was charged with 730 counts of sexual intercourse with animals, 730 counts of cruelty to animals and one count of corruption of a minor.
For several years, the men had a young boy assist with their activities by bringing them animals they intended to abuse.
It was the teenager, after turning 16, who finally reported their activities to police.
The men separately entered guilty pleas to the charges and were sentenced on April 22, 2019.
The teen indicated to police that for a period of four to five years “he had been exposed to all three men having sexual intercourse with animals on a daily basis,” according to the summary.
He said he would be expected to locate an animal that the men wanted and bring it to them.
The child also reported “deplorable living conditions on the farm.”
Each of the defendants filed separate appeals with the Superior Court, contending their respective sentences were excessive.
The men contended that they entered pleas to misdemeanor charges that called for probationary sentences, but that the judge sentenced them in the aggravated range of the state sentencing guidelines and ended up imposing sentences more adequate to felonies, not misdemeanors.
They also complained that Cherry had imposed consecutive, rather than concurrent, sentences.
In the opinion issued in the Measnikoff case, the Superior Court judges found that the aggravated sentences were warranted “due to the appellant’s engaging in criminal conduct on a daily basis for years, subjecting a child to his crimes, finding other adult men to commit the offenses with him and only ceasing his criminal abuse of animals after the child contacted police.”
The men, according to the Superior Court panel that included judges John Bender, Maria McLaughlin and John Musmanno, had exposed the child to their “abhorrent offenses for years on end.”
The appeals court also pointed out the sentences could have been much longer, noting that consecutive sentences were imposed only on 78 of the 730 charges of sexual abuse of animals.
The Superior Court focused on Judge Cherry’s sentencing hearing statement that “the nature and severity of these crimes shocked the conscience of the court.”
Wallace, in his appeal, contended Cherry did not explain his sentence, but the Superior Court rejected the argument.
The sentencing judge also added he imposed lengthy sentences to allow each of the men “to work on his mental health through treatment.”
Brubaker stated in his appeal that this conclusion by the judge was made without any psychological evaluation or expert testimony as to how long it would take for him to be rehabilitated mentally.
The Superior Court answered that complaint, indicating that Brubaker never requested a psychological evaluation or sought expert testimony concerning his mental health.
Measnikoff is incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Fayette, while Brubaker and Wallace are at SCIs in Somerset and Houtzdale, respectively.
The men created videos of their sexual activities, and, as reported in the Altoona Mirror after sentencing last year, Clearfield District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. said the videos “burned my corneas and will live with me the rest of my life.”
Cherry concluded his remarks by calling the case “one of the most disgusting, despicable courses of conduct I’ve ever seen.”