Jack E. Harclerode – Pedophile Professor – Guilty

A 73-year-old retired biology professor was convicted Monday of 20 felony counts of possessing child pornography following a trial before Union County Judge Louise O. Knight.

Jack E. Harclerode, of 1225 Supplee Mill Road, Lewisburg, could face a maximum of 140 years in state prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced within the next three months. Meanwhile, he remains free on $100,000 cash bail.

“I really don’t think you’re surprised” by the conviction, Knight told the elderly man after she announced her verdict. Harclerode had waived his right to a jury trial.

Defense attorney Peter Campana, of Williamsport, argued that Harclerode did not know that the children engaging in sexual acts depicted in the 245 images found on his computer and a portable hard drive were real and under the age of 18. These could have been computer-generated images, Campana said.

Knight said one of the reasons she rejected the argument was that Harclerode, who holds a doctorate in biology and taught at Bucknell University, was well aware of the human body and should have been able to determine the children’s ages and that they were real human beings.
After waiving his right to a jury trial early Monday, Harclerode agreed to allow District Attorney D. Peter Johnson to present a statement of the case against him without calling any of the witnesses to testify or be cross-examined.

Johnson told the court that in March 2007, state police at Bloomsburg received a search warrant for Harclerode’s home where they found a laptop computer and a portable hard drive and other items inside a locked metal filing cabinet.

The warrant was obtained after allegations arose that Harclerode had molested a 10-year-old Lancaster boy at a campground near Elysburg in June 2006. Police were tipped off by Jolee Djaraher, one of Harclerode’s three daughters, who found their e-mail correspondence.
Harclerode pleaded guilty to first-degree indecent sexual assault in Columbia County Court earlier this year and is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 18.

According to state trooper Kenneth Houck, while the search was taking place in March 2007, Harclerode was asked for the key to the cabinet and was seen a short time later apparently trying to surreptitiously remove the contents.

Inside the cabinet, police found a portable hard drive containing 207 sexually explicit images of boys under age 18, erectile dysfunction medicine prescribed to Harclerode, lubricant, condoms and pornographic DVDs.

The laptop contained another 38 images of young children engaged in sexual acts, Johnson said.
Real children

Dr. Pat Bruno, an expert in the physical and sexual assault of children, testified in the report that he reviewed 249 sexually explicit images found in Harclerode’s home and was able to determine that 245 of them depicted real children under the age of 18.

The report added that state police at Selinsgrove computer expert Thomas Trusal found that the children in the images were underage and that Harclerode knowingly and deliberately found them and moved them to his computer.

Johnson told the court that copies of the images were turned over to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and that 10 of the children were identified and found to be minors.

Campana did not call any witnesses and did not contest allegations that Harclerode possessed child pornography, but said his client was innocent of the charges because he didn’t knowingly possess images of real children under 18 engaged in sex acts.

“The key word is knowingly,” Campana said.

Under the state statute, the Legislature requires authorities to prove a defendant knowingly is in possession of child porn, he said.

The defense attorney argued that the commonwealth could have proven knowledge if the defendant had taken the photographs himself, was present when the photos were taken or knew the children, but Campana said that was not the case.

“There is no proof,” he said, asking the judge for an acquittal.

Johnson argued that the case was proven, in part, by Harclerode keeping some of the illegal photographs near items used for sexual gratification.

“In his mind, he was aware these were real children,” the prosecutor said.

Knight agreed with Johnson, and added that if she were to use Campana’s argument regarding burden of proof, “it would virtually rip the teeth out” of the statute.

“The defendant knew what he was doing in having these images,” she said, adding that he tried to cover up the evidence during the police search of his home.

The judge found Harclerode guilty on all 20 counts, each of which carries a maximum penalty of seven years in state prison. After the verdict, Johnson asked the judge to revoke Harclerode’s $50,000 cash bail pending sentencing in about 90 days, calling him a pedophile who is a danger to the public and himself.

Johnson also called Harclerode a flight risk, citing his upcoming sentencing in Columbia County, the fact that he’s been deemed a sexually violent predator, has about $1 million in assets and has said he would kill himself before going to prison.

Campana argued against revoking bail and rebutted several of Johnson’s claims.

Although the Pennsylvania Sexual Assessment Board found Harclerode to be a sexually violent predator, a court hearing on the issue won’t be held until Dec. 18.

He denied Harclerode ever threatened suicide and said, despite numerous court hearings in the past 1 1/2 years, he has always appeared.

Campana also said that despite the conviction in Columbia County, Harclerode remains free in lieu of $75,000 bail in that case, as well as on $100,000 bail in a third and separate sexual abuse case in Union County.

A trial on the that case, involving a 28-year-old Milton man who claims he was sexually abused on numerous occasions between 1992 and 1995 by Harclerode inside his Bucknell University office, where he was employed until retiring in 1997, is scheduled for January.

Knight, acknowledging that any sentence Harclerode receives on the child porn convictions “has the potential to be life” for Harclerode, cited his prompt appearance at all court hearings in rejecting bail revocation.

Instead, she raised the bail to $100,000 cash and added a special condition that he have no contact with minors except grandchildren being supervised by another adult.

Harclerode left the courthouse without comment, accompanied by Campana and a daughter.

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