Former CYS advisory board member pleads guilty to sex charges

February 28, 2014
Former Greene County Children and Youth Services Advisory Board member John Robert Lohr leaves a previous court appearance. - Tara Kinsell / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

WAYNESBURG – John Robert Lohr, 57, a former Greene County Children and Youth Services Advisory Board member, faces a a prison sentence of 10 to 20 years after pleading guilty Friday to sexually assaulting a young boy in his care over a four-year period beginning in 2009.

Lohr pleaded guilty to amended felony charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, corruption of a minor and indecent assault of a minor under 16 years of age.

Charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with forcible compulsion and rape with forcible compulsion were withdrawn by the Commonwealth in exchange for Lohr changing his original plea from not guilty to guilty on the remaining charges.

Assistant District Attorney Brianna Vanatta said it was in the best interest of the victim to make an offer to spare him the experience of a trial.

Taking the stand to acknowledge he did not want to go to trial, Lohr said he didn’t agree with the timeline. He told the court he was pleading guilty because, “I engaged in oral sex with (the victim).”

Lohr said the boy was placed with him and his wife by Greene County CYS when he was 4 years old. According to the criminal complaint, Lohr began sexually abusing the boy when he was 9 years old.

“I agreed to drop two of the charges against you, but I would be more than happy to go to trial on all of these charges,” Vanatta said to Lohr. “There were reasons I agreed to this, not least of which is the impact on the victim who quite frankly, Mr. Lohr, has been through enough, thanks to you. You will serve not one hour less than 10 years in jail because of this. You are never, ever to have contact with the victim again.”

Lohr will be sentenced at a later date pending an assessment under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act to determine if he is a sexually violent predator under the law.

Whether he is deemed sexually violent or not, Lohr will be required to register under Megan’s Law as a sex offender for the remainder of his life. If he is found to be a sexually violent predator, there is an added component requiring him to attend at least monthly counseling sessions with a provider approved by the Pennsylvania Sexual Offender Assessment Board.

On Aug. 22 Lohr was extradited from the North Central Regional jail in Marion County, W.Va., based on a fugitive warrant.

He was confronted by family members Aug. 18 with allegations of sexually assaulting the boy. A day later, Lohr was found unconscious by park rangers at Ohiopyle State Park inside a van with a hose running from its tailpipe into the interior. Lohr was arrested Aug. 29 at the behavioral medicine unit in Fairmont General Hospital, Fairmont, W.Va.

At the end of Friday’s court appearance, Lohr was remanded back into the custody of Greene County sheriff’s deputies to be returned to the Greene County jail where he was held on $750,000 straight cash bail since Sept. 11.

Tara Kinsell started her career in journalism with the National Geographic Insider Magazine and the Gaithersburg Gazette Newspaper in Montgomery County, Md. Tara has written and photographed sports, features and news stories for the Herald Standard, Greene County Messenger and Albert Gallatin Weekly. She holds degrees in journalism and graphic design from Waynesburg College, now Waynesburg University, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, respectively.

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