The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

April 21, 2014

Sex offender gets county time, parole

Acts deemed ‘aberation driven by alcohol and drugs’

LEWISBURG — LEWISBURG — In an emotionally charged courtroom with about a dozen friends and family from Michigan, a Lansing man was sentenced 4½ to 12 months in prison with nine years probation for sexually assaulting two children during a September 2012 trip to Lewisburg for a wedding.

Once he serves 4½ months in Union County Prison, Christopher Robbins, 31, will serve the rest on parole, followed by nine years of probation in Michigan, District Attorney D. Peter Johnson said.

Robbins was charged in Union County in January 2013; in February he pleaded no contest to a felony count of criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and indecent assault of a person younger than 13, a misdemeanor.

Robbins was found not to be a sexually violent predator, the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board informed Union County after several weeks of study.

However, beyond the sentence, Robbins must register under Megan’s Law as a sex offender, “a serious burden he’ll live with the remainder of his life” and far worse than any punishment the court could give, Attorney Ronald Travis, of Williamsport, said.

Union County Adult Probation recommended Sholley reject the plea agreement, given there are two child victims and this is a Megan’s Law offense case.

“No doubt this is a tragedy,” Sholley said. “This court is extremely familiar with the lifetime damage” sexual assault renders on children. “I agree that registering as a sex offender is more punishment than I could impose.”

Officials in Michigan said they have found Robbins poses a low re-offense risk, Travis said. The two child victims have received counseling for just more than a year and concluded it recently, Travis said.

“Bottom line: what occurred was an aberration driven by alcohol and drugs,” Travis said. “There is no indication of behavior like this before; studies indicate it’s not likely to reoccur.”

Lansing police received the initial complaint Oct. 29, 2012, from the mother of the two victims, a 7-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy. The mother said the incidents occurred Sept. 2 at a Lewisburg hotel, where they were staying and attending a wedding.

Stacie Moore, whose wedding the victims were attending, asked Sholley “to serve (Robbins) the highest punishment” during a victim impact statement.

Regardless of what professionals have found, “that doesn’t excuse him — no one knows what that did” to the children, Moore said. “I pray they can lead normal lives.”

Testifying on Robbins’ behalf were Stephen Russell, his employer and owner of A C Electric in Lansing who also wrote a letter to the court. Russell called Robbins “a very productive member of society” and someone Russell needs working for him full time.

“We’ll work with the court to let you know what jobs he’s on,” Russell said. “We all make mistakes, and what we do going forward is the biggest key and what I look for.” Scott Berg, a friend, also testified on Robbins’ behalf, asking the court for “mercy and grace.”

“I don’t want to dispute facts, I don’t know them,” Berg said, but possibly keeping Robbins from his young son would have devastating consequences on the child.

 

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