State Police Take Over Sex Investigation

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CANTON -- Three men in Bradford County face charges they sexually assaulted a man who police say has an IQ of 40.

Canton police originally investigated the allegations, and then the case was handed to state police who ended up filing the charges.

According to court papers, troopers said the alleged sex crimes were reported to police in Canton but that for "unknown reasons, no charges were filed."

We learned that Canton police tried twice to file charges but never got approval from prosecutors.

Late last week, state police filed charges against three men accusing them of having sex with a mentally handicapped man in Canton.

Two of the men, Ronald Middaugh and Randy Foust live at Cedar Ridge Apartments.

Troopers say the alleged victim is unable to consent to sex.

"That's absolutely wrong. They take advantage of individuals who do not know right from wrong," said Dori Wood of Troy.

Wood is a caretaker for the mentally handicapped and was upset to hear of the charges. A third man, Jared Strunk of Grover faces charges as well after state police interviewed the alleged victim who is in his late 20s.

"They easily can be taken advantage of and not know any better."

Canton's police chief says his department has investigated this case twice before.  Once last June and as recently as this past March and in both instances faxed paperwork to the district attorney's office for approval but never heard back. Now they found out the Pennsylvania State police are the ones filing charges.

"If the D.A. is not going to prosecute it, what's the sense of us beating our head against the wall?" asked Canton Mayor John Vineski.

Mayor Vineski says his police force did everything it could to bring charges against the men. Then, after a new county detective picked up the case, state police got involved.

Court paperwork filed by state police indicated that local police did not file charges for unknown reasons.

"We did what we're supposed to do, no confirmation from the D.A.'s office, no more we can do," the mayor added.

The Bradford County district attorney says in the previous investigations, Canton police did not reach the point to file charges based on the evidence they had.

D.A. Daniel Barrett says both state police and Canton borough police acted appropriately.

All three men in Canton are due in court later this month.