CLEARFIELD – A jury deliberated for approximately three hours and 23 minutes Friday afternoon before finding a Clearfield man guilty of inappropriately touching two young girls.
Justin J. Centra, 41, was found guilty of attempt-aggravated indecent assault of child, indecent assault of child (two counts) and indecent assault without consent.
He was also found guilty of indecent exposure, corruption of minors (three counts) and terroristic threats. He was found not guilty of aggravated indecent assault of child.
In a separate but related case, Centra was found guilty of 19 of 20 counts of intimidating a victim/witness and intimidation in child abuse cases. He was found not guilty of all 20 counts of obstruction.
The first victim was at Centra’s residence and awoke around 3 a.m. Aug. 24, 2020 because she felt someone rubbing her leg. She saw Centra kneeling next to the bed and said he tried to touch her inappropriately.
She said she rolled over onto her side to stop him, and tried to make him think that she was asleep. After he left the room, she picked up her phone and messaged a friend.
The victim told her friend she couldn’t sleep and was scared to. Then, she said Centra came back in, asking if she wanted to see his private area and if she would show him hers.
She shook her head “no” both times, she testified Wednesday, and then Centra told her not to tell anyone. She immediately told her friend what happened and she arranged for her mother to pick up the victim.
The victim said as she ran outside, Centra stood at the door asking her not to go. She said she was taken home where she eventually told her parents what happened and police were contacted.
The victim’s friend and friend’s mother corroborated her testimony. Both said the victim was visibly emotional and upset over what Centra had done to her when she got in their car.
Victim 2 took the stand late Wednesday afternoon and said when she learned what happened to victim 1, she began sobbing but managed to tell a relative Centra had assaulted her six years earlier.
Police were contacted and a forensic interview was conducted at the Child Advocacy Center of Clearfield County. Victim 2 resumed her testimony Thursday morning.
She said the first time Centra assaulted her was in December when she was 10 years old. She said she woke up to find him “thrusting” his hips on top of her.
Other times she said he touched her inappropriately, as well as tried to get her to touch his private area and put his hand down her pants.
While he was incarcerated in the county jail, Victim 2 said she received 22 hand-written letters from Centra between August and December of 2020. She kept 16 and later gave them to Children & Youth Services.
In the letters, he asked her to go to the district attorney’s office and recant her story and to throw victim 1 under the bus to help him get out.
He also said they had to go over their stories and make sure they were on the “same page.” In one letter, she was instructed: “don’t keep it; don’t show anyone.”
In addition, the prosecution played a call from Centra to a relative Dec. 7, 2020, the day before victim 2 had an appointment with the prosecutor. He wanted them to take victim 2 to the DA’s office to admit she’d lied and to say victim 1 had lied.
In other phone calls between Centra and two of his relatives also in December of 2020. He wanted them to speak to the district attorney and throw victim 1 under the bus.
“Then, the DA doesn’t have a case,” Centra stated. He also directed them to “throw their weight around” and refuse to leave the courthouse until he was released from county jail.
Deputy District Attorney Trudy Lumadue prosecuted the case for the commonwealth. Centra was represented by defense attorney Patrick Lavelle.