OLYPHANT — A former public defender in Lackawanna County is now on the other side of the law, arrested Wednesday on child rape charges.
Investigators say the attorney sexually assaulted a teenage girl last year.
Ken Kovaleski was a former public defender for Lackawanna County and
is still a practicing defense attorney. Court papers filed against Kovaleski Wednesday say he used his job to intimidate his alleged victim, who accuses Kovaleski of sexually abusing her over the course of a year.
Attorney Ken Kovaleski, of Olyphant, turned himself in at the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s office in Scranton. A place where he’s well-known, since he’s a former public defender and was once a legal guardian for children in Susquehanna County.
“This is difficult, it’s sad, it’s certainly not something we take any pleasure in. This is an individual we had a professional relationship with. But, we don’t have the luxury of choosing which child predators we prosecute, we follow the evidence wherever it leads us,” said Assistant District Attorney Mariclaire Hayes.
A 16-year-old girl came forward earlier this month, telling police Kovaleski first raped her, then molested her over the course of a year.
Kovaleski faces charges of rape, indecent sexual assault, and endangering the welfare of a child.
The girl told police the abuse happened inside Kovaleski’s home in Olyphant, and that she threatened to go to police before but Kovaleski used his position as an attorney to threaten her.
In court papers, the girl told investigators Kovaleski said to her, “I know every single D.A. in this town, and every single police officer, and no one is going to believe you.”
Those very same district attorneys and police officers took Kovaleski in handcuffs to be arraigned on nine separate sexual abuse charges Wednesday.
Officials with the Lackawanna County D.A.’s office say Kovaleski is still a practicing defense attorney. According to Susquehanna County court officials Kovaleski is no longer serving as a legal guardian there.
“In that position he would be responsible for making sure a child is protected, so it is upsetting to think that somebody in that position would be taking advantage of a child in their own life,” added Hayes.
Prosecutors say, just like with any sexual abuse case, they’re not ruling out the possibility that there could be more alleged victims in this case.
Ken Kovaleski was arraigned Wednesday morning. He is free on $50,000 bail.