A Bradford man will serve a term in state prison for allegations that he molested a child, then hid himself to avoid apprehension.
Jason R. Girdlestone, 45, will serve 4 ½ to nine years in state prison with credit for 288 days for charges of aggravated indecent assault of a child, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of children and flight to avoid apprehension.
The sentencing hearing was held via video conference, with Girdlestone appearing on video from McKean County Jail.
Girdlestone will have to register as a sex offender for his lifetime, too. He is to undergo a mental health evaluation that will focus on sex offender treatment, and he is to have no contact with the victim or her family and no unsupervised contact with juveniles.
On Oct. 3, Girdlestone pleaded guilty to allegations that between July 1, 2017, and July 23, 2019, Girdlestone engaged in penetration of the genitals of a 10-year-old girl. Then, he concealed himself in the commonwealth to avoid apprehension.
According to reports from police, Girdlestone was arrested Aug. 1 by several officers from the Bradford City Police Department and the U.S. Marshal Service Fugitive Task Force.
In March, George Cabisca of Bradford was sentenced to a term of probation for allegations that he let Girdlestone stay at his home, even though he knew police were looking for Girdlestone.
On Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Ashley Shade told the sentencing judge, President Judge John Pavlock, that the victim’s written statement said better than she could the impact of Girdlestone’s action on the victim and the impact it will “likely have for the rest of her life.”
Shade recommended a 4 ½ to nine year sentence, saying she feels it is appropriate “based on the seriousness of that offense.”
When Pavlock asked Girdlestone if he wished to make a statement on his own behalf, he replied, “No, I don’t.”