Former County Chief of Staff Admits to Sex Charge

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SCRANTON, Pa. -- A former chief of staff for the Lackawanna County commissioners pleaded guilty Monday morning to indecent assault charges.

Andy Wallace, 66, pleaded guilty to a count of criminal intent to commit indecent assault, a misdemeanor.

Wallace said nothing as he entered court Monday morning. He once served as the northeastern Pennsylvania office manager for former U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, and until June, as the chief of staff for the Lackawanna County commissioners.

Prosecutors say on June 18, Wallace followed an 18-year-old employee of P & R Discounts Store on Route 6 in Eynon through the store and into the parking lot where he reportedly asked for a sex act. He was charged in July.

In court, Wallace said he volunteered for an emergency psychiatric evaluation shortly after he was accused of the crime.

Leaders in the region's Hispanic community were critical of Wallace, claiming he was a powerful and connected official who was taking advantage of a teenage boy in the country on a work visa, a teen who reportedly feared he'd be deported if he spoke up.

Wallace could be sentenced to two years in jail, but prosecutors say his plea and Wallace's lack of a criminal record make that unlikely.

Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell expects Wallace to be sentenced early next year, saying he is not yet sure if he will ask for jail time or house arrest.

Powell adds the key to the plea is that Wallace will have to register as a sex offender for the next 15 years.

"I think the greatest protection from the community is the registration, so we're satisfied that there will be a 15-year registration," Powell said. "It's a tremendous fall from grace, but he also committed a crime and is going to be held accountable like anybody else."


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