CLEARFIELD – A Westover man accused of sexually assaulting two girls was found guilty on 24 of 28 counts after a three-day trial on Friday.
Moses C. Norris, 77, was determined to be guilty of two counts of rape of a child, three counts of attempted rape of a child, one count of statutory sexual assault, three counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, three counts of aggravated indecent assault, six counts of indecent assault, and six counts of corruption of minors. He was not guilty of two additional counts each of indecent assault and corruption of minors.
The victim’s family shed a few tears as Norris’ family and friends cried and shook their heads.
The charges stem from incidents while the first victim was in third or fourth grade. A second victim also reported that he had molested her as well.
A video of one of the victims talking about the encounters was again shown to the jury during Clearfield County Deputy Assistant District Attorney Trudy Lumadue’s closing arguments.
The girl talked explicitly about her interactions with Norris using details a girl of her age should not be aware of, Lumadue noted.
“I do not know a little girl who could draw a [male’s private area] without seeing one,” she said.
The girl’s remarks included specifics on his attempts to have intercourse with her.
The abuse involved oral sex, intercourse and inappropriate touching. The other victim also suffered touching and kissing.
Lumadue explained Norris’ actions as a gradual progression building to rape, according to the victim, which is not necessarily how a child would tell a story they fabricated.
During his closing arguments, defense attorney Joshua Maines pointed to inconsistencies in the victims’ testimony and the vagueness of the dates of the events. He told the jury that it was up to them to decide whether the victims were telling the truth.
On Thursday, Norris himself testified although he had the right to remain silent, Maines noted.
“He was accused of crimes he didn’t commit,” he said, asking them to consider Norris’ testimony and the other character witnesses who spoke on his behalf.
In this case, “there are many reasonable doubts,” he stated.
The jury of five men and seven women disagreed and reached their verdicts after approximately four hours of deliberation.
After the verdict was read, Lumadue asked specially-presiding Senior Judge Daniel J. Milliron of Blair County to revoke Norris’ bail and take him into custody.
She noted that there is a concern for the victims because Norris had allegedly voiced threatens toward them.
Maines argued that he is not a flight risk, had no prior record and has health issues. He asked Norris remain on bail pending sentencing.
Milliron decided to revoke Norris’ bail because of the seriousness of the case, saying he had never before not revoked someone bail in a case like this.
Norris was then taken into custody. He will be sentenced within 60 days.
District Attorney Ryan Sayers issued a statement regarding the case.
“Justice was served today because these girls came forward and spoke up about the terrible acts committed against them. It is never easy for victims to come forward, but the strength of these girls is commendable.
“I am also proud of the hard work and diligence of Deputy Lumadue and First Assistant (Leanne) Nedza in prosecuting this case and helping these girls and their family get the justice they deserve.”