SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Somerset County District Attorney, Jeffrey Thomas, has waived his preliminary hearing Tuesday afternoon but is now facing two new charges, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
The new charges of sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault were added onto the case, according to Senior Deputy Attorney General Patrick Schultz. Thomas now faces 50 years instead of 35 years if found guilty.
In addition to the new charges, the felony rape charge against Thomas was dropped.
Thomas is facing the charges after an incident that happened in Sept. at a residence in Windber where he allegedly physically and sexually assaulted a woman, according to state police.
Pittsburgh-based defense attorney Ryan M. Tutera, representing Thomas, said, “Right now, these are allegations.”
“Jeffrey is entitled to the presumption of innocence. He’s entitled to fairness. He’s entitled to due process. We ask the public not to come to any conclusion about the matter and allow him to have a fair determination of these allegations,” Tutera told WTAJ.
Officials say Thomas’ access to his office and the courthouse has been restricted. Through his attorney, Thomas announced he would be taking a leave from his position to focus on this case and he will be pleading not guilty.