The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

April 25, 2014

Jury: Woman, 53, stalked ex-lover

Conviction took panel 20 minutes to decide

DANVILLE — DANVILLE — A jury took 20 minutes to find a Danville woman guilty of stalking and harassing a hospital security guard by posting signs in a women’s bathroom saying he was a pedophile.

The Montour County jury began deliberating at 2:18 p.m. Friday and reached a verdict at 2:38 p.m. in the trial of Beth Ann Rogers, 53, of Fisher’s Court, that began Friday morning before Judge Gary Norton. Rogers remains free on bail.

Rogers, who is married, previously walked around Danville carrying fluorescent signs about the security guard who was her former lover.

She was accused by Mahoning Township police of stalking with intent to cause emotional distress and harassment to communicate lewd, threatening language on signs she penned about Robert Tarr, a Geisinger Medical security guard and former county deputy sheriff, Rogers, who previously worked in the dietary department at Geisinger, admitted to placing three signs on stalls in the public women’s restroom of Knapper Clinic at Geisinger Aug. 7, 2012.

The hand-written signs urged people to beware of Tarr, said he worked second shift at Geisinger and as a deputy sheriff, was “a pedophile verified by DA (Robert) Buehner, it is being covered up and please watch your children.” The signs also contained a physical description of Tarr.

Rogers’ attorney Andrew Katsock argued the signs were within her First Amendment rights and didn’t cause emotional distress to Tarr. He contended her  actions didn’t constitute any crime and she had no intent to harass Tarr and didn’t see him at the clinic.

“This is a defamation case where Mr. Tarr could bring a civil action if he believes he has been defamed,” Katsock said.

Tarr testified he suspected Rogers, her husband or her friends of causing $4,000 damage to his truck, that he continuously “looked over my shoulder at work” and Rogers’ husband harassed him at work which he said he reported several times.

“I don’t what she’s capable of,” he said of Rogers who was found guilty of violating a protection from abuse petition he had received her in October 2011. She was  sentenced to 72 hours in jail and fined $400 for violating that order. Tarr obtained that PFA after she picketed in front of the courthouse while he was working. He has a PFA against her through March 2016.

When asked by County District Attorney Rebecca Warren if he believed Rogers’ threats to kill him, he said, “Absolutely.”

Warren said Tarr has never been arrested or investigated as a sexual predator.

Tarr said Rogers came to his apartment for three to four months with him ending the affair that began in 2007. He met Rogers while both worked at Geisinger with her telling him she was separated from her husband, he said. He told her he was trying to get back with his ex-fiancee. “She told me she would make my life a living hell,” he said, saying she approached him at work and made accusations against him with human resources at Geisinger.

On July 7, 2011, he was leaving his part-time job at the courthouse when Rogers was carrying picket signs, cursing at him and calling him a pedophile and stalker, he said. She followed him to his truck, threw a water bottle at his truck and stood in front of his truck, he said. She said her husband wanted to kill him and she wanted to kill him, Tarr said. After she started beating on the front of his truck, he called the sheriff’s department which summoned Danville police.

The bright signs she carried that day were written with “justice for all, I know why women in this county get killed because officials only care about women in their circle” and warned of Tarr being a sexual predator while on duty. Tarr has worked at Geisinger since 2004.

The mother of three ages 33, 32 and 30, Rogers testified she now works at the Danville Salvation Army and worked at Geisinger from 1999 to 2009.

“He told me he loved me and wanted to marry me. He pursued me,” she said of Tarr. “He said he had been watching me a while,” she said. She said Tarr would give her rides to her car in the parking lot. “He gained my trust and praised me up. I fell in love with him,” she said.

Rogers said she went to his apartment three times and other times they had sex at the hospital. She said Tarr put the relationship on hold by saying he underwent shoulder surgery and was on light duty at work. After about three months, he said he wanted to get back together with her, she said, adding “I was done with this.” She claimed he grabbed her by the arm, leaving bruises, when she tried to get away.

While their relationship ended in January 2008, she said he continued to pursue her through December 2008.

She said she never threatened Tarr. “I was afraid of him. He had a gun on him,” Rogers said.

Arresting officer Mahoning Township Sgt. Chris Prescott testified Rogers denied posting the signs in the restroom but said she supported whomever did. She told him she used the handicapped stall — the only one without a posted sign.

Knapper pharmacist Sarah Chupka said she discovered the signs which she believed were being used to slander someone. Pharmacy technician Megan Shultz testified Chupka asked her to verify what she saw. Shultz described them as  derogatory.

Deputy Sheriff Shane Craig and Danville Patrolman Keith Davenport also testified.

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