Accused rapist pleads no contest

  • In US
  • 2023-01-26 18:17:00Z
  • By The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pa.

Jan. 26-SUNBURY - A 62-year-old Sunbury man pleaded no contest on Thursday to felony counts of rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse related to the sexual assault of two teenage girls more than 20 years ago.

Robert Houseknecht Sr., of North 5th Street, entered the plea to the two felony counts in front of Northumberland County President Judge Paige Rosini. The sentencing date is scheduled for 10 a.m. April 24.

In pleading no contest, Houseknecht did not admit guilt but acknowledged there is enough evidence against him that a jury might find him guilty.

Houseknecht is accused of assaulting two girls in separate incidents - one in 2004 and the second between 1998 and 1999. Both assaults occurred at the same residence in Sunbury.

Both felony counts each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. As part of the plea deal, Houseknecht will likely be sentenced at the bottom of the standard range, which is a minimum of four years in state prison, and the remaining seven charges will be dismissed.

Houseknecht must also register for life as a Megan's Law offender. The Sexual Assault Offenders Board will also determine whether he is a sexually violent predator, Rosini said.

Assistant District Attorney Robyn Zenzinger said the victims agree with the plea deal presented on Thursday. Neither the victims nor Houseknecht offered any statements in court.

Houseknecht is represented by Chief Public Defender Ed Greco.

Houseknecht remains a county inmate housed at the State Correctional Institute-Laurel Highlands in Somerset in lieu of $200,000 cash bail.


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