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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Trial begins tomorrow for trooper

Richard Keener charged with rape

By JIM RUNKLE — jrunkle@lockhaven.com

LOCK HAVEN — A jury trial is set to begin tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. for Richard S. Keener, a state trooper charged with raping and sexually assaulting a Lock Haven woman at her home two years ago.

The trial in Clinton County Court of Common Pleas before Judge J. Michael Williamson is expected to last at least two days.

Keener, 40, of Marble Lane, Bellefonte, was a trooper at the Lamar barracks when the alleged rape occurred on May 17, 2006 between 1:30 and 3 a.m. at an East Water Street apartment in the city.

The charges include two counts of rape and indecent assault and one count of sexual assault.

Keener is being represented by State College attorney Joseph Amendola. Jonelle H. Eshbach of the Office of Attorney General, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, is prosecuting the case.

According to police, the investigation was initiated by the attorney general’s office based upon information received from former Clinton County District Attorney Ted McKnight, based on an investigation conducted by the Lock Haven Police Department.

City police said the assault followed a casual meeting between Keener, the victim and a female friend at a local bar.

While at the bar, police said, Keener made sexually suggestive comments to the alleged victim, who responded negatively to them.

Keener and the two women returned to the alleged victim’s apartment, police said.

While the woman was in a bedroom retrieving an article of clothing, police said, Keener entered, closed the door, grabbed the victim by the neck, threw her onto the bed and started biting her on the neck and inner thigh.

Keener then grabbed the victim by the throat, held her down, placed his hand over her mouth, removed her clothing and raped her, police said.

Police said after the assault, Keener left to go to the bathroom, and the victim quietly informed her female friend what Keener had just done.

After Keener left, police said, the alleged victim went to the Lock Haven Hospital, where she received treatment and a sexual assault examination before photographs were taken of the bite marks, police said.

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