A Clymer man was jailed Thursday to face accusations that he paid a 15-year-old girl to have sex with him between five and 10 times over the past year.
David Oswalt, 56, was charged with 92 counts ranging from statutory sexual assault and patronizing a prostitute in a complaint filed by Indiana Borough police at Indiana District Court.
Investigators filed the charges following 8ﾽ months of investigation that began in late October, when an Indiana County Children & Youth Services caseworker noticed text messages of a sexual nature between the girl and Oswalt on the teenage girl’s cellphone. According to a criminal complaint, the teen repeatedly provided incorrect passcodes or refused to talk about the text messages during interviews with caseworkers and police over the next month. At one point, the caseworker “said the juvenile victim refused to give her the passcode to her and a struggle ensued to get the phone,” police charged. Caseworker Amanda Wadsworth “was able to get a hold of the phone and look through further text messages … then said the phone locked and she was unable to look through the phone any further.”
The girl then provided false code numbers to prevent Wadsworth from accessing the messages.
Faced with the victim’s steadfast lack of cooperation, borough police shifted the investigation to the federal level in December, when officers obtained a warrant, seized the girl’s phone and turned it over to the FBI for analysis. In late March, FBI and Homeland Security agents unlocked the phone. Detectives scrolled through Oswalt’s messages to the girl and verified that the source phone number was Oswalt’s phone, police wrote in an affidavit with the charges.
On July 11, agents from FBI and Homeland Security and Indiana Borough police executed a search warrant at Oswalt’s home along Walcott Street, confiscated a variety of sex toys and quizzed Oswalt’s live-in girlfriend about his relationship with the victim.
Sherri Henry told investigators that she had heard but disbelieved allegations that Oswalt had molested the teenager, the criminal complaint shows.
“She advised that the juvenile victim was sexually active and Oswalt hid sex toys for the juvenile victim in the past so the juvenile victim’s mother would not know,” police wrote in the complaint.
Borough police and federal agents next visited Oswalt’s workplace, where he agreed to cooperate and go with officers for an interview at the Indiana police station.
Oswalt first denied any improprieties with the girl, but then admitted to Detective Leroy Anderson that they had met twice for sex — first in his car near Deckers Point then again in an apartment along Philadelphia Street in Indiana — and that he and the girl sometimes fondled each other.
“He advised, for approximately two years, the juvenile victim was coming on to him and that he finally gave in,” police wrote in the charging documents.
After borough police conducted a recorded interview with Oswalt, a polygraph operator from Homeland Security spoke at length with him, police said.
“During the conversation, Oswalt disclosed that he had sex with the juvenile victim between 5 and 10 times and he paid the juvenile victim for sex,” police wrote in the complaint. The payment for sex was initiated by Oswalt, because, as he stated, the juvenile victim had something he wanted, sex, and he had something the vehicle victim wanted, money. Oswalt also advised that he believes he began to sexually assault the juvenile victim when she was 14 years of age.”
Police said the comments were recorded, but the polygraph procedure was not started.
Near the end of the interviews, Oswalt told investigators that he was upset because he broke a mutual promise with the girl that neither would tell anyone about what had happened.
Borough police prepared the charges, obtained an arrest warrant and took Oswalt into custody early Thursday afternoon, according to a news release.
The complaint includes 10 counts each of statutory sexual assault while 11 years older than the victim, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a victim less than 16 years old, aggravated indecent assault of someone under age 16, indecent assault of a victim less than 16 years of age, endangering the welfare of a child and corruption of minors. Police added two counts of intimidation of a victim or witness.
District Judge Guy Haberl set bond at $100,000 and sent Oswalt to the Indiana County Jail. A preliminary hearing has been set for Aug. 1 in Indiana District Court.