LEWISBURG — The ex-professor locked up in state prison for child rape and possessing illegal pornography wants a Union County judge to vacate his sentence and grant a new trial.
Attorneys for 81-year-old Jack Harclerode claim District Attorney D. Peter Johnson violated a plea agreement when he recommended in response to the state parole board that their client's early release be denied.
Johnson replied in a legal filing, saying such recommendations are routine and weren't a condition of the plea deal.
Harclerode is serving 5 to 10 years and was denied parole when his minimum sentence expired May 4, according to court records. He'll appear in county court Monday for a hearing on his Post-Conviction Relief Act petition. The petition was filed Aug. 25.
"The plea agreement set forth the entire bargain and was silent as to any other condition, including any collusive recommendation to the parole board," the petition states.
"There is no ambiguity. This particular subject was not agreed to," Johnson wrote in court records, adding his recommendation was one of six reasons provided by state parole in its denial.
Harclerode was sentenced jointly in 2011 in separate cases. He was found guilty at trial of 20 counts of possessing child pornography and later pleaded to one count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. His victim, who's name is withheld, claimed the former Bucknell University professor raped him several times at a campus office between 1983 and 1989.
According to court records, Johnson recommends Harclerode serve the maximum sentence. Had a refusal to recommend a parole denial been sought as part of the agreement, Johnson said he would have turned the deal down. He also said the motion is late, a point Harclerode's attorneys contend.
Harclerode is wealthy, resourceful and intelligent, Johnson said in a legal filing, and is a "dangerous, sexually violent predator" likely to repeat his offenses. He said multiple accusers, all adults ranging in age from 20s to 50s, came forward with allegations of molestation after Harclerode's first charges were filed in 2007. However, he said, the statute of limitations expired in these instances.
"The only way to eliminate his chance to perpetrate against another child is for the Department of Corrections to keep him behind bars," Johnson wrote in a letter to state parole, which he submitted as evidence in Harclerode's petition.
Harclerode is currently held at State Correctional Institution at Mercer. He's represented by the Miele & Rymsza law firm, Williamsport.
Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Scicchitano on Twitter: @ericshick11