Leeper man gets state prison time for assaults on girl

From staff reports

A Leeper man was sentenced Wednesday to serve a minimum of 15 years in state prison for repeated sexual assaults of a young girl.

Lance Albert Yarger Sr., 68, was initially charged with more than 25 counts of assault on a minor less than 13 years of age. He pleaded guilty last month to five counts of aggravated indecent assault of a minor less than 13.

“I am so sorry for what I did,” said Yarger. “I can’t take it back.”

“I know your family,” Judge James Arner said during the sentencing proceedings. “This is a terrible shame.”

Arner acknowledged Yarger’s remorse but added that his remorse must be balanced against “how bad it is for the victim and what it means to her.”

The judge sentenced Yarger to three to six years in prison on each of the five counts. The sentences will run consecutively, resulting in a 15-to-30-year sentence for Yarger.

Yarger was given credit for 189 days he had already served.

“We need to get the message out about the seriousness of these crimes,” Arner said.

Clarion County Public Defender Erich Spessard asked Arner to consider the “kind of life he (Yarger) had lived.”

In addition, Yarger’s two sisters read a letter in support of their brother.

A criminal complaint says Clarion County Children and Youth Services conducted an interview with the girl last year and then relayed that information to Marienville state police.

Marienville trooper Kathy Watters interviewed the girl at the Marienville barracks in August 2018, and the girl told Watters that Yarger had assaulted her multiple times from the time she was in third grade until she was in seventh grade, the complaint said.