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Ex-Police Chief Sentenced to Prison for Sex Crimes Against Friend’s Relative Who Was Raped ‘Several Times a Month’ Over Six Years

Brent Getz

A jury convicted Brent Getz (above in mughsot courtesy of Pennsylvania AG)  on all possible counts last week, court records show. These include rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, aggravated indecent assault of a child, and indecent assault of a child under 13.

A former police chief in Pennsylvania may spend more than three decades behind bars for repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting a child relative of his friend. Carbon County Judge Joseph J. Matika on Friday ordered 30-year-old former Weissport Chief of Police Brent Getz to serve a sentence of 16 to 32 years in jail for the horrific crimes that took place over several years, prosecutors announced.

In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Matika also ordered Getz to serve three years of state probation following his release and register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

“This sentencing ensures that Getz is held accountable for his horrific actions and that his victim receives long-awaited justice,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) said in a statement. “My office is committed to protecting and standing up for children across the Commonwealth. Getz and other bad actors like him who abuse their positions of authority will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

A jury found Getz guilty in March on all possible charges, including rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, aggravated indecent assault of a child, and indecent assault of a child under 13.

Getz was initially arrested in March 2019 along with his co-defendant in the case, Gregory Wagner, who was Getz’s best friend at the time the assaults. Wagner, now 31, is a relative of the victim. The assaults took place in his home from 2007, when the victim was 4, and continued until 2012. Wagner in November 2020 pleaded guilty to charges of rape and sexual exploitation of children and agreed to testify against Getz at trial. He was sentenced in April to 10 to 20 years in state prison.

According to the criminal complaint, Getz and Wagner were both teenagers when the abuse began. The sexual assaults continued after the men turned 18:

The complainant stated that she had been repeatedly raped orally, vaginally, and anally by both her uncle Greg Wagner and a co-defendant Brent Getz. She noted that it happened several times a week from approximately age four (4) through age eleven (11), ending shortly before the report in May 2012. The complainant stated that Wagner began his assaults when she was approximately four years old, and Wagner would come to her bedroom and take her to his bedroom. Wagner would touch the complainant’s vagina and had her perform oral sex on him. The complainant stated that at approximately age six, Wagner began having vaginal and anal sex with her as well as Getz becoming a participant in the rapes. Getz was a friend of Wagner’s who participated in the assaults when he was at Wagner‘s home. The rapes took place several times a month for approximately six years. Complainant stated that during the assaults, Wagner would have pornography on in his room.

The sentencing of Getz marks the long-awaited conclusion of the criminal case. The victim had to share her story countless times over the years and provided video evidence of her relative’s sexual abuse before any arrests were made in the case.

The victim was 11 when she first told a substitute teacher that her Wagner was raping her. That teacher, in turn, contacted ChildLine, Children and Youth Services, Carbon County.

Children and Youth Services informed the Franklin Township police, who set up an interview for the girl with the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC).

The girl sat for a lengthy discussion with a forensic interviewer at CAC. According to the complaint, she said that Wagner would rub his groin on her genitals, offer her money for sex, and make her watch pornography.

“Given her detailed disclosure of inappropriate sexual activity with this adult male occurring over the past several years, it is consistent with sexual abuse,” wrote a nurse who examined the victim.

That same nurse also noted: “Many of the symptoms that [redacted] experienced after this inappropriate touching is also consistent with inappropriate sexual contact and penetration of the vagina.”

The Franklin Township Police Department interviewed Wagner in 2012, but when he asked for a lawyer, authorities did not interview him again for over a year. No charges were filed after an investigation, according to prosecutors.

According to the complaint, the two defendants continued to abuse the victim in the interim. Since no one believed her, she recorded a video at one point and sent it to another family member for safekeeping. She was just 11 at the time.

Then, in 2015, a complaint was dismissed by a district judge due to what the judge claimed was a paperwork error. Charges weren’t refiled after that error.

Things changed in 2018, however, when a member of the police force took an active interest in the investigation. The victim, then 17, provided the investigator with new details and the video she recorded six years prior.

By this time, Getz had been appointed as the Weissport Chief of Police. He was let go in 2019 after the charges against him were filed.

[images via Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.