LANCASTER, PA — A Lancaster City man was convicted Thursday of rape of a child and multiple additional charges regarding sexual abuse to minors following a four-day trial in front of Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas Judge Merrill Spahn.
Geraldo Maldonado, 40 of the 500 block of E. King St., was found guilty by a jury on all charges which included:
- one count of rape of a child
- two counts of aggravated indecent assault
- three counts of unlawful contact with a minor – sexual offenses one count of incest
- three counts of corruption of minors three counts of endangering the welfare of children
- three counts of indecent assault of a person less than 13 years old
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Ponessa prosecuted the case and told the jurors during her closing argument that it simply came down to them believing the victims’ testimony.
“If you believe every single victim that got on that stand, you have enough to convict the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt,” Ponessa said.
Maldonado and defense counsel argued to the jury that the victims’ testimony was inconsistent with suggestive/false memories, and they conspired against the defendant as reasons for doubt and the jury to acquit.
Ponessa responded by commending the victims’ bravery to testify and that the raw emotion they displayed on the stand clearly showed they weren’t lying. Ponessa also stated there wasn’t any reason for the victims to make these stories up since it happened back in 2008 and it didn’t make sense for them to wait 13 years to get revenge (charges were filed in 2021).
The victims also testified that they weren’t ever going to bring up the abuse until a journal was found with a note describing the defendant’s conduct.
“This all happened because a journal was found,” Ponessa said. “Not because all three victims waltzed into the police station and decided [they were going to conspire against the defendant] that day.”
The Lancaster City Bureau of Police received a report of a sexual offense that occurred in the 600 block of W. Vine St. on Aug. 18, 2021.
Lancaster City Bureau of Police Detective Jessica Higgins investigated the case and spoke with two victims. One victim said she was abused by the defendant on numerous occasions at two locations in Lancaster city when she was around six years old. The second victim stated similar abuse occurred to her when she was around four to five years old at the same locations. The abuse occurred when the defendant was in a caretaker role.
The third victim spoke about her abuse – which occurred multiple times and at multiple locations in Columbia Borough – after a journal was found that contained details of the abuse.
The jury deliberated for 50 minutes before delivering its verdict Thursday afternoon.
Bail was raised to $500,000 on each docket. Maldonado remains in Lancaster County Prison awaiting sentencing and faces a maximum of 176 years in prison.
Detective Higgins and Columbia Borough Detective Matthew Leddy filed charges for their respective jurisdictions, testified, and attended the entirety of the trial.
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