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Judge hears arguments in sex assault case
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
By Jeff Corcino Staff Writer
President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman heard arguments yesterday over what evidence can be presented at trial in the institutional sexual assault charge against a Philipsburg woman.
Rachelle A Thompson, 45, of Philipsburg is accused of having an affair with an inmate at SCI Houtzdale while she was employed as a drug and alcohol counselor at the prison.
Thompson is also accused of giving the inmate, Jason Campbell, cell phones and money while he was in prison.
According to a previous article in The Progress, on Sept. 1, prison officials conducted a search of the prison cell of Campbell and his cellmate Maurice Carter and discovered they were in possession of two cell phones.
When Thompson was interviewed by prison officials he informed them he received the cell phones from Thompson and had given one to his cellmate to keep him quiet.
Campbell said he had been having a sexual relationship with Thompson about a year and a half.
However, at Thompson's preliminary hearing in January, Campbell refused to testify despite being given a grant of immunity.
Yesterday, Assistant District Attorney Beau Grove argued that they should still be able to present Campbell's statements to prison officials to the jury at trial.
However, Thompson's attorney Ron Collins argued against this saying if this would occur the defense has no opportunity to cross-examine Campbell on his statements.
Ammerman ruled he would hear further arguments on the matter during the pre-trial omnibus hearing.
Ammerman also signed Campbell's immunity order if Campbell changes his mind and decides to testify at trial.
In other cases, Ammerman permitted the DA's office to add the charge of criminal attempt against Shawn A. Hall, 21, of Clearfield. Hall is also charged with rape, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault (without consent), aggravated indecent assault (forcible compulsion), indecent assault (forcible compulsion) and indecent assault (without consent of other).
Hall is accused of raping a 15-year old girl in April of 2010.

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