Clearfield, PA – An Eldred man who is accused of sexually assaulting a man with a mental disability has waived his rights to a preliminary hearing to court and will stand trial.
The charges against 45-year-old Michael French date back to August of 2016. Police say that a witness found French and the other man in the grassy area behind Dingers Grand Slam Grille & Groggery on Nichols Street in Clearfield. The victim was identified as a man known to have a mental disability.
French told police that he had been in DuBois the previous night but had been arrested for being intoxicated and sleeping in the park. He said he had been released from the county jail earlier in the day and was waiting for a ride home. He said that, while he was waiting, he had met the victim at Sheetz. French told police that they were only hanging out and that he hadn’t done anything wrong, but he later allegedly admitted to having sexual contact with the victim.
The victim later had a psychological evaluation, where it was determined that he was not able to make decisions by himself and was vulnerable to being taken advantage of. Evaluators said that the victim was clearly mentally handicapped and that it’s unlikely that French wouldn’t know that he was taking advantage of someone with a handicap.
French is facing charges of deviate sexual intercourse with a person with a mental disability, indecent assault of a person with a mental disability, indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and open lewdness.
He remains in the Clearfield County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. There is no word yet on when his next court date will be.