Last week a Lancaster County jury found 75-year-old Donald Feldman guilty of five counts of carnal knowledge of a minor and one count of custodial abuse by taking indecent liberties.
Last Monday, Feldman was represented at trial by Jan and Nicholas Smith. Libby Trible, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Northumberland County, acted as Special Prosecutor. Judge Harry T. Taliaferro, III appointed the Northumberland County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office after a conflict arose in the Lancaster County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office during a Motion to Suppress Feldman’s confession to a jailhouse confidante.
According to Trible, the jailhouse witness was important because Feldman’s statements to him corroborated the 14- year-old victim’s complaints of sexual assault.
Trible said the evidence showed the assault occurred last summer, when the victim was living with her mother in the defendant’s Lancaster County home. The victim testified that she was ashamed
about the assault, and did not report it until approximately one month after it occurred. Trible said the embarrassed 14-year-old finally released the burden of her secret when a cousin asked why her ex-boyfriend had referred to Feldman as a pervert. Once she shared her story, the authorities were alerted and charges followed.
At trial, Feldman’s lawyers called the ex-boyfriend to the stand, apparently hoping he would admit he had put the girl up to the accusations. When he did not, they unsuccessfully tried to have him declared a hostile witness and to impeach him, Trible said.
Following a brief deliberation, the jury set Feldman’s sentence at 11 years. His formal sentencing will be ordered by the Circuit Court at a later date, Trible said.