Thursday, March 4, 2021

Man who raped boy for several years to spend years in state prison

A Fern Glen man who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from accusations he forced an underage boy to have sex with him dozens of times over the course of years will spend between seven and 24 years in prison after being sentenced Tuesday morning.

Tribune Publishing

John Babe Fritz, 55, appeared before Luzerne County President Judge Michael T. Vough on Tuesday to be sentenced on one felony count each of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors, which court records show he pleaded guilty to in June of last year.

Fritz was charged in November 2019 after his victim was interviewed by state police at the Pennsylvania State Police baracks in Hazleton.

The victim said the sexual abuse occurred between 2013 and 2016, while he was between the ages of 12 and 15. He told police that during that time, Fritz forced himself on the child between one and three times a week.

He also told police that Fritz stopped assaulting him shortly before his 16th birthday, but would occasionally "beg" him not to tell anyone.

Before Fritz was sentenced, Paula Brust, member of the Sexual Offender Assessment Board, testified saying that Fritz qualifies as a sexually violent predator. Vough officially labeled him as such during the sentencing.

While Fritz was too overcome with emotion to speak on his own behalf before he was sentenced, his attorney, Mary Deady who had been appointed by the office of conflict counsel, read a statement written by Fritz, which said in part that he apologizes to the victim, and said that he could not even look into the mirror for fear of seeing the "monster" that looks back.

Vough ordered Fritz to spend between 84 and 288 months, or seven and 24 years, in state prison.

Fritz was remanded to the county lockup to await transfer to a state facility.

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