SCRANTON -- A former Lackawanna County public defender began a hefty state prison sentence on Wednesday for raping a teenage girl in 2011.
Ken Kovaleski of Olyphant was a public defender in Lackawanna County, and a guardian ad litem in Susquehanna County court when he was arrested back in 2012.
The judge who sentenced him Wednesday says his position of trust in the community made his crimes worse and added to his sentence.
Kovaleski has been behind bars since earlier this year when he was convicted of several child sex charges. A jury found that he raped and assaulted a teenage girl several times in 2011.
Today, Kovaleski was sentenced to 21 to 42 years in state prison.
Kovaleski was also given the label of a sexually violent predator.
Kovaleski denies raping the girl but he didn't testify at trial and he didn't have anything to say in court.
"Mr. Kovaleski vehemently maintains his innocence as he has since the beginning of this case and we now look forward to the matter being reviewed by the appellate courts. We believe that we will be back here again, that this is not the last we've heard on this case," said Kovaleski's attorney Todd Johns.
"When the defendant committed these crimes, he told the victim he knew every police officer, he knew every D.A. in town and nobody was going to believe her. We believed her, the jury believed her, and I think today justice is served," said Lackawanna County A.D.A. Mariclare Hayes.
Kovaleski began serving his 21 to 42 year sentence in state prison immediately. His attorneys said that they filed an appeal to his case right after the sentencing hearing.