A Fayette County Jury found a former Connellsville police officer guilty on only official oppression charges and not guilty on the 10 remaining charges related to an alleged sexual assault.
On Wednesday afternoon, Ryan Reese, 44, was found not guilty on three charges each of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse (IDSI) and indecent assault after a three-day trial, but guilty on the charge of official oppression.
Reese was charged after a woman said Reese had three sexual encounters with her following arresting her for a controlled drug purchase when he was with the former Fayette County Drug Task Force in early 2012.
“I thank the jury for their service,” said Deputy Attorney General Patrick J. Schulte following the hearing. “We’re pleased with the verdict.”
“Obviously, the jury thought the charges of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and indecent assault were completely unfounded,” said attorney Charity Grimm Krupa, who represented Reese.
In her closing statement, Krupa said the woman was, at best, careless with the truth in the matter, with inconsistencies in her story from when she told law enforcement of what happened to her testimony in court early this week.
Krupa added that the woman, by her own testimony, didn’t act like a terrified victim during her time with Reese as she had testified because she continued to text and call Reese about getting together and coordinating her schedule to meet with him.
“Her testimony doesn’t add up,” Krupa said, adding that if the woman was telling the truth, her statements would be more consistent. “There’s a lot of conflicting testimony in this case.”
She added that Reese testified when he didn’t have to.
Reese testified earlier that day that there was a possible entrapment issue with the woman’s arrest as the woman who set up the controlled buy with the drug task force. So charges were never pursued and she never became a defendant, but had her vehicle impounded because it was used in the transportation of narcotics.
He continued that it was when she dropped off the lease for her vehicle that Reese told her that the charges weren’t being pursued, she said she really wanted to thank him, which he took as having an intimate encounter.
“I said it was something I’ll think about, but nothing serious,” Reese said, adding that the woman suggested that they “hook up.”
The two started texting and having phone conversations about everyday things, but it turned sexual in nature as he said she fantasized about him arresting her and that he looked “hot” in a police uniform.
Reese said he felt good about the conversations because she found him attractive, but he contended that the two never had any kind of physical sexual encounter.
Reese said he stopped communications with the woman when she met him in Connellsville on the night the prosecution claimed was the third sexual incident.
“She wanted to see me in my uniform,” Reese said, adding that she followed him from the Sheetz parking lot to the back of the Shop ‘n Save plaza, where she saw his uniform, but he was shortly called away by another officer.
“She was irate,” Reese said of the third encounter. “I knew she wanted more than I wanted out of it."
Krupa contends that the motive for the woman to testify in the case was because her drug-dealer friend informed the police about her and Reese and had her make up the story to get the friend placed on house arrest.
In his closing statement, Schulte echoed his opening statement that the case was about force — not physical force, but psychological force and intimidation to commit sexual assault.
“He held charges over the woman and traded those charges for sex,” Schulte said.
On the entrapment issue, Schulte asked why didn’t anyone but Reese testify that the charges weren’t pursued because of entrapment or if the woman’s attorney at the time didn’t have notes about the entrapment issue when he testified.
He continued to say that Reese, while with the drug task force, was a supervisor who didn’t have to report to anyone about charges being pursued and to make deals with defendants.
Judge Steve Leskinen kept Reese on his appeal bond from his conviction in November where a jury found him guilty of corruption of a minor, but not guilty on charges, including IDSI, unlawful contact with a minor, criminal use of communication facility, official oppression and indecent assault.
In that case, Reese was sentenced to 9 to 24 months in prison and is awaiting a decision on his appeal from the state Superior Court.
While Krupa didn’t comment on the upcoming sentencing for Reese scheduled for Dec. 13 at the Fayette County Courthouse, she did say that the whereabouts of the alleged victim in Reese’s upcoming Westmoreland County case is still unknown as she absconded parole.
That alleged victim, acting as a confidential informant, said Reese came to her home with a warrant for her arrest and then allegedly handcuffed and raped her.