SMETHPORT — Former Bradford music store owner Edward Wright is appealing his legal designation as a sexually violent predator.
Wright, 69, of Bradford, was found to be a sexually violent predator at a Megan’s Law hearing June 11 in McKean County Court. His attorney, Gregory Henry of Bradford, filed a notice of appeal to the state Superior Court on Aug. 23.
Wright was sentenced to one to two years in state prison, with two days time served and four years of consecutive probation for charges of indecent assault without consent from others; indecent assault of a person less than 16 years of age; and corruption of minors — defendant age 18 or above.
According to court records, a juvenile female reported to Bradford City Police that during November and December 2018 at Wright’s Music Shed — a business owned by Wright on Main Street of Bradford — Wright touched her inappropriately on several occasions while making remarks of a sexual nature, and made comments meant to prevent her from reporting the contact.
Henry raised nine issues on appeal. He alleged, among other things, that President Judge John Pavlock erred by preventing defense expert Dr. Robert Maiden from testifying at the Megan’s Law hearing about how Wright’s age affected his likelihood of reoffending, and about the assessment criteria used by the Sexual Offender Assessment Board.
In his statement in support of the court’s findings, known as a 1925(a) statement, Pavlock explained the reasoning behind the predator designation. An evaluator with the Sexual Offender Assessment Board concluded Wright met the diagnostic criteria for a paraphilic disorder.
Pavlock said Wright was previously convicted in McKean County in 1986 of sexually assaulting teenage students while he was a band director at Bradford Area High School. And when he was 66 or 67, he again used a position of power to isolate a young female, gain her trust and sexually assault her, the statement read.
While the defense spoke about Wright being a married man with four children, Pavlock said that supports the assertion that Wright is unable to control his urge to abuse female juveniles. “His decision to act despite the consequences to himself and others demonstrates that he will likely act out again in the future,” the judge wrote.
The defense also alleged that the recidivism rate for people over the age of 55 declines dramatically. However, Pavlock wrote, Wright was 66 or 67 when he sexually assaulted the juvenile in the present care. “Since he did reoffend at a mature age already, it is unreasonable to assume that, in a few years the urges that were not controlled when he was 66 or 67 will suddenly vanish,” the judge wrote.
He asked the Superior Court to deny Wright’s motion.
Under Pennsylvania law, “a sexually violent predator is a sex offender convicted of a sexually violent offense in Pennsylvania who has ‘a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses,’” according to the Assessment Board.