Testimony Begins In Trial Of Old Forge Chief

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SCRANTON -- It’s been about a year and half since a young woman, now 24, came forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Old Forge Police Chief Larry Semenza and two former borough officials.

Wednesday the young woman told her story to a jury. She told them about the close, and eventually sexual, relationship she says she had with the chief starting when she was 15.

Chief Larry Semenza faces six charges related to child sexual abuse. The young woman who brought the allegations against him spent nearly five hours on the stand in the first day of testimony for Semenza’s trial.

She told jurors about the close bond she had with the police chief back in 2005 when she was a teenager. She testified that the two would meet up in the Old Forge Borough Building to kiss and Semenza would touch her. She said Semenza would watch her shower in the Old Forge Fire Department.

Chief Semenza’s defense attorneys questioned the woman’s credibility because she hired a civil attorney months before telling prosecutors. The defense thinks she is motivated by money.

In response the alleged victim said, “The people who are supposed to help me are the people that hurt me. You’re supposed to go to the police when you’re in trouble. What am I supposed to do? Go into the office and tell them you hurt me? Are they going to laugh at me?”

Chief Semenza was arrested in May of 2012 along with former Old Forge Police Captain Jamie Krenitsky and former firefighter Walter Chiavacci. The young woman claims to have had sexual contact with all three men starting when she was 15.

Krenitsky and Chiavacci are expected to testify against Semenza later on in the trial.

Defense attorneys said there’s only circumstantial evidence against Semenza so it’s a case of "he said, she said."

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