LANCASTER (AP) — Authorities filed charges Wednesday against a man accused of abducting a 5-year-old girl from a yard in Lancaster County and sexually assaulting her in his car before she was rescued by teenagers on bikes.
Harold Leroy Herr, 73, was charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and other counts.
Police say he took the girl as she played in the yard Thursday in Lancaster Township.In a police affidavit, the girl told investigators that she walked around the side of her grandmother’s apartment building to retrieve her bicycle when she saw a man standing nearby and said “hi.”
He said “hi” back and asked about her bicycle. He then told her that she was pretty and “I think I’m going to keep you,” grabbed her by the neck and forced her into his car in the parking lot.
At some point, he drove to his house and parked in front, and either before or after that, he sexually assaulted her in the back seat, she told investigators.
Later, he tried to take her to a swimming pool, but the road was closed, the affidavit quoted the girl as saying. So he stopped the car, bought her a scoop of chocolate ice cream and then went to take her back to her grandmother’s apartment.
When he saw police officers in the area, he turned off the road, stopped and told her to get out, which is when she was spotted by two boys on bicycles who had been among the neighbors looking for her, she told investigators.
Police in nearby Manheim Township say the boys had spotted her inside the car and begun following it on their bicycles.
Investigators matched a description of the man given by the victim with Herr’s description on the Megan’s Law registry website.
Herr is a registered sex offender who served time for abducting and raping another 5-year-old girl in 1989, authorities said.
He was in custody Wednesday after being charged Friday with violating Megan’s Law requirements to verify his address with police.
Court records listed him as being represented by the public defender’s office, but a receptionist in that office said Wednesday that paperwork in the case had not arrived and had not been assigned to a lawyer.