SMETHPORT — A Bradford man will serve 10 to 20 years in state prison for allegations he broke into a woman’s home and sexually assaulted her.
Christopher R. Yohe, 29, appeared Thursday in McKean County Court to be sentenced before President Judge John Pavlock.
A jury convicted Yohe of the following charges at a trial in August: rape by forcible compulsion, burglary, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, criminal trespass, unlawful restraint and indecent assault.
In addition to his prison term, Yohe must register as a sex offender for his lifetime. He is to receive a mental health evaluation, have no drugs or alcohol and have no contact with the victim, too.
Yohe has served 463 days of incarceration, which was credited to sentence for a revocation at a previous DUI case. A revocation at a second prior case was dismissed.
Prior to sentencing, District Attorney Stephanie Vettenburg-Shaffer told Pavlock, “I really see the defendant’s behavior defined by three categories”: one, forcible rape — a “violent sex crime;” two, “violent property crime” — burglary; and three, unlawful restraint.
“I ask the court to consider separate sentences for these three separate elements of criminality,” Shaffer said.
She noted that there was a Protection from Abuse order in place at the time of the offense, and Yohe had multiple violations of the order.
Yohe’s attorney, Christopher Martini, told Pavlock he had four documents to have the judge review prior to sentencing: a letter by Yohe, a letter by Yohe’s mother, a document from a hospital where Yohe received addiction treatment and a colloquy signed by Yohe indicating that he understood his registration requirements as a sex offender.
Shaffer told Pavlock that she had “some concerns by what (Yohe) has written.” She added that the letter from Yohe’s mother had the mother “attempting to rebut testimony” and placing blame on the victim. “I don’t believe that’s appropriate,” said Shaffer.
Shaffer did not suggest that Pavlock not read the letters.
In response, Martini brought up Yohe’s drug and alcohol addictions.
Pavlock described how a letter can have a positive or negative affect on how he views a defendant, and it could impact his view on what sentence would be appropriate. He indicated it is up to the Yohe and his attorney to decide whether to submit a letter.
“Either it’s submitted that you want me to to look at it, or it’s not,” Pavlock said.
When Martini walked up to hand documents over to Pavlock, he mentioned Yohe’s letter, the document from the hospital and the colloquy for sex offender requirements, but he did not mention the letter from Yohe’s mother.
Regarding Yohe’s time in addiction treatment, Martini explained that Yohe “hit rock bottom” a couple of years ago and went to get help. “It was something he needed to deal with or something can happen.”
Yohe made no comment in open court to supplement his letter to Pavlock.
Pavlock noted that Yohe started off his letter by saying, “I’m not a bad person,” and then Yohe listed actions by the victim that he thought she needed to apologize for. Pavlock told Yohe he had “a lot of nerve coming in here” and “in any way, shape of form telling us what the victim needs to do.”
Pavlock talked about Martini’s argument that Yohe’s actions were influenced by his drug and alcohol problem, and said, “You undermined that with the letter because you have a real attitude problem.”
A criminal complaint filed at the time of Yohe’s arrest alleged that on June 14, 2018, the victim was in a home in Foster Township getting ready to wash dishes, when she received a phone call from Yohe. He told her he wanted to see her, then the victim then found out he was already in the house.
She told him to leave, but he refused; instead, he pinned her arms down under his knees, took off some of her clothing and sexually assaulted her, court records stated.