Sunday, February 28, 2021

Prosecutor charged with sexually assaulting clients while working as defense attorney

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A Pennsylvania prosecutor is facing charges of sexually assaulting five female clients while working as their private defense attorney.

Bradford County District Attorney Chad Salsman, a Republican elected in November 2019, was charged Wednesday with three counts of sexual assault, five counts of indecent assault, 12 counts of witness intimidation, obstruction of justice and promoting prostitution, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

“Chad Salsman would regularly use his position and power as an attorney to coerce his victims into performing sexual acts on him,” Shapiro said in a statement. “He would bring them into his private office, under the guise of discussing their case, and used his knowledge of his clients’ vulnerabilities to negate their consent and sexually assault them.”

A grand jury heard testimony from multiple women who claimed Salsman, 44, manipulated them into unwanted sexual acts, some performed on his office desk, charging documents show.

“In most cases, Salsman had sex with the women on his office desk and then directed them to his private bathroom to ‘clean up’ using paper towels or cleaning wipes,” a criminal complaint reads.

Salsman then had sex with the woman without her consent, despite her telling him she was gay, charging documents show.

Another former client of Salsman’s in a child custody case testified that he pressured her into sexual acts in exchange for his legal services. After groping the woman without her consent, she relented to his advances and began having sex with Salsman, who stopped charging her, Shapiro said.

Salsman, meanwhile, denied the accusations Wednesday.

“I’m innocent,” Salsman said while being led into a magistrate’s office in handcuffs, WNEP reported.

Salsman’s attorney said he found no evidence of forced sex acts.

“So we will vigorously try this case,” attorney Sam Stretton said. “This will not be a plea.”

Stretton said Salsman waived his preliminary hearing Wednesday and was expected to be released after posting 10 percent of $500,000 bail.

“We’re going to try to get an early trial,” Stretton said. “If we win, we win. If we lose, of course there’s not much we can do to save his position.”

With Post wires

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