Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced charges Wednesday against four current or former Pennsylvania residents for their alleged sex crimes against children. Authorities say the charges were filed following a grand jury investigation into members of Jehovah's Witnesses.
"These cases are disturbing, the allegations hard to imagine, and all share one common tie. The 19 victims and the four men who are being charged with sexually violating them are all members of Jehovah’s Witnesses. These children deserved to be protected and grow up in peace, not to be preyed upon,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “My office will not stop until these defendants are held accountable for their crimes against innocent children and until justice is achieved for these courageous survivors."
Jose Serrano, 69, of Lancaster County is alleged to have molested six young girls, including his own daughter, in 2011. He confessed to committing many of these criminal offenses to the Grand Jury, and admitted to a life-long struggle with deviant impulses. He has been charged with Aggravated Indecent Assault, Indecent Assault, and Endangering the Welfare of Children.
Jesse Hill, 52, formerly of Berks County, now a resident of the state of Georgia, is alleged to have used his milling business to attract young boys from his Jehovah's Witness congregation, with promises of alcohol, marijuana, and pornography to his property for parties in the 1990s. Hill would later expose himself to the children, grope them and force them to perform oral sex. The investigation revealed at least 10 victims of Mr. Hill’s abuse. Hill has been charged with Rape, Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse, Indecent Assault, and Corruption of Minors.
Robert Ostrander, 56, formerly of Cambria County, now a resident of New York state, is alleged to have sexually abused at least two minors, including his own step-daughter and her friend. He has been charged with Indecent Assault, Endangering Welfare of Children, and Corruption of Minors.
Eric Eleam, 61, of Butler County was alleged to have sexually abused his daughter and used sexual molestation as a form of discipline when she was a child. He has been charged with Rape, Involuntary Deviate Sexual intercourse, Aggravated Indecent Assault, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. When agents from the Office of Attorney General and police from Butler County attempted to take him into custody, he retreated into his bathroom and killed himself behind closed doors.
All of the charges have since been filed in the corresponding counties.
Anyone with information regarding child sexual abuse is encouraged to report information to the Office of Attorney General’s hotline at 888-538-8541.
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