A Pleasant Gap man who pleaded guilty to assaulting two minors was sentenced Thursday to at least three years in state prison.
Timothy Pope, 20, was sentenced by Centre County Judge Katherine Oliver to three to six years in state prison. Pope, who reported to jail Thursday, will also serve four years of consecutive probation.
In March, Pope pleaded guilty to one felony count each of sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault. Prosecutors dropped several charges, including felony counts of child rape, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault and indecent assault of someone younger than 13. Two misdemeanor charges were also dropped.
In July 2019, Pope traveled to the home of a 12-year-old girl, whom he met on Instagram and previously exchanged messages with. After picking her up in his car and driving to a nearby location, Pope sexually assaulted her and told her "not to tell anyone, or she would be sorry," according to court documents.
The victim claimed Pope knew she was 12 years old, state trooper Tyler Grube wrote in an affidavit of probable cause.
In August 2019, Pope communicated with a 14-year-old girl via Snapchat and lured her to his car at a park in Port Matilda. After driving to a nearby lot and locking the vehicle's doors, Pope proceeded to assault through digital penetration.
While removing her from the car, Pope told the victim to act "as if nothing had happened between them," investigators wrote.
"The similarities between the two incidents are alarming," Centre County Assistant District Attorneys Amanda Chaplin and Andrew Stover wrote in a memo. "In both incidents, (Pope) contacted (the victims) through social media, took them to remote areas in his vehicle, ignored the fact that they did not consent to sexual contact, and he used his power and control as a means to satisfy his sexual desires with both victims."
Pope was 17 years old at the time of both sexual assaults, according to court documents. State police charged him as a juvenile in December 2020, but prosecutors motioned to move the case to criminal court in February 2021. Centre County Judge Jonathan Grine approved the transfer two months later.
Pope posted $250,000 in unsecured bail in April 2021.
One day before pleading guilty to assault charges, Pope requested to follow one of his victims on Instagram, according to court documents. In a sentencing memo released on Thursday, Chaplin and Stover argued Pope's "predatory behavior" would be best addressed at a state correctional facility.
"Clearly, (Pope) has shown a blatant disregard for the law and the rules set out for him to follow by the Court."