Probation for man who brought Reading teen to his parents' home
- Charles Heaps Jr. bought the teen clothing, then took her to his parents' home and gave her alcohol.
- Heaps spent 51 days in prison and will be on probation for five years, his prosecutor said.
A Dallastown-area man has avoided additional prison time for picking up a 15-year-old girl in Reading, driving her to his parents' home in Dallastown, trying to ply her with alcohol, then refusing to drive her home.
Senior deputy prosecutor Chuck Murphy said because Charles Westly Heaps Jr. had no prior record, the 51 days he spent in York County Prison before being bailed out would have been about as much prison time as the prosecution could have hoped for.
Instead, Murphy said, he secured the longest probationary tail possible.
On Monday in York County Court, Heaps pleaded guilty to the first-degree misdemeanor of corruption of a minor. Murphy said it was the most serious of the charges Heaps had faced.
As part of a negotiated plea agreement, Heaps was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to have no contact whatsoever with the girl — and no unsupervised contact with any minor, court records state.
"That's the longest period of supervision we could get, for the highest offense (he faced)," Murphy said.
Dismissed after Heaps' guilty plea were the offenses of obstructing the administration of law, furnishing alcohol to a minor, interfering with the custody of a minor and harassment.
His defense attorney, public defender Kathryn Bellfy, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
What happened: Heaps met the girl on the internet and they agreed to meet in person at a park near her Reading-area home on April 17, according to court records.
Heaps drove her around Berks County and eventually drove her to his parents' home in the 100 block of Pleasant Avenue in Dallastown, according to police. Heaps told her that if anyone asked, she was to say she was 18 years old, documents state.
Heaps took the girl to his bedroom, gave her a "weird mixture" of alcohol and told her to "drink it ... drink it ... drink it," documents state, then kissed her on the cheek and forehead.
Heaps grabbed her chin several times to try to make her look at him and also tried to get her to sit next to him on his bed, court documents state.
Wanted to go home: When the girl asked Heaps to drive her home, he told her he would take her home the next day, police allege.
State police at the Reading, Berks County, station received a report the girl was missing about 9 p.m. April 17, according to Trooper David Beohm, spokesman for the PSP Reading station.
"Her mother had received some texts from her ... (indicating) she was concerned for her safety," Beohm told The York Dispatch at the time. "That gave us the authority to ping her phone."
Beohm said that means having the phone-service provider check to see which cellphone towers the device is closest to. Court documents state that the girl texted her mother that the man she was with had a knife in his car.
Knocked on doors: Although the phone provider couldn't narrow the search down to an exact house, it narrowed it down to a block in Dallastown where there are five homes, Beohm said.
"So troopers from the York station went there and banged on all the doors," he said. That was around 2 a.m. April 18, or about five hours after the girl's mother notified police.
Heaps answered the door of his parents' home and initially told troopers he didn't know the girl, police said. But when troopers knocked a second time, Heaps told them he had been with the girl, but that she'd left "a while ago," documents state.
Troopers then demanded Heaps wake his parents so troopers could speak with them and confirm the girl wasn't inside, police said. That's when Heaps confessed the girl was in his bedroom, according to documents.
Protective custody: Troopers arrested Heaps and took the girl into protective custody, according to documents. She was taken to a local hospital to be checked out, Beohm confirmed. Documents allege Heaps pushed the victim in the head several times.
Troopers then reunited her with her mother, Beohm said.
Heaps later told troopers he gave the girl a drink made with absinthe, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, Blue Wave and Tennessee Honey Whiskey, court documents state.
He also confirmed the girl wanted to go home, but he said he didn't have enough money for gas to drive her there until he could borrow some the following day, according to documents. Heaps said he only stays at his parents' home occasionally and doesn't have a permanent address, documents state.
'Cautionary tale': Murphy described the incident as a cautionary tale for parents and teens.
"Parents and guardians need to monitor what their children are doing online," he said, adding the girl did the right thing by texting her mother for help. "Luckily, this didn't turn into anything more than it did."
Heaps didn't explain in court why he committed the crime, according to Murphy.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.