Case Results

Not Guilty Jury Verdict To All 9 Sexual Abuse Counts In 7-Year Old Case

State: Pennsylvania
Court:  Court of Common Pleas for Allegheny County
Case Name:  Commonwealth v. Donald H. Stettner
Lead Attorney: Tom Pavlinic
Judge:  Sasinoski
Co-counsel:  Timothy Lucas
Date: March 2010 (17-day trial)

Result: Not Guilty – All 9 Counts (Jury Verdict)

Case Comments:

In Pittsburgh, PA a school psychologist was accused of anally raping his adopted son approximately 300 to 600 times when the young man was between 9 and 17 years of age. The son did not go to the police until 2002, more that 5 years after the alleged abuse ended. Our client was arrested on January 22, 2003. The son also accused his natural mother of sexual abuse. The mother denied any abuse on her part when testifying for the prosecution and against her husband during the trial. The case spanned 16 days from jury selection until jury verdict and was not concluded until March 19, 2010, over 7 years after the arrest.

Attorneys Tom Pavlinic and Tim Lucas tried the case together and presented the testimony of many fact witnesses as well as the expert testimony of a gastroenterologist to describe what anal-rectal medical findings would have been associated with the alleged abuse. There were no medical findings, and the complainant refused to submit to a voluntary medical examination.

Because of the bizarre nature of the allegations, the relentless prosecution to which he was subjected and the negative impact this ordeal has had on his life, our client has authorized us to share his traumatic experience with you. To learn more details about this terrible injustice Google: Dr. Donald Stettner, school psychologist, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Vindictive Divorcee: Allegations of Rape and Child Sexual Abuse Unfounded: Not Guilty All Counts

State:  Delaware
Court:  Superior Court for Sussex County
Case Name:  State v. R.P.
Lead Attorney: Tom Pavlinic
Judge:  Graves
Co-counsel:  Kate Aaronson
Date: December 2009

Result:  Not Guilty – All Counts (Jury Verdict)

Comments:  Allegations of spousal rape that were made along with allegations of child sex abuse during a divorce case.

Unreliability of Child Complainant: Not Guilty All Counts

State:  Virginia
Court:  Circuit Court for Lancaster County
Case Name:  Commonwealth v. T.C.
Lead Attorney: Tom Pavlinic
Judge:  Talifero
Co-counsel:  Jud Collier
Date: September 2009

Result:  Not Guilty – All Counts (Jury Verdict)

Comments:  Complainant was only 6 years old.  Defense challenged competency due to suggestion, but the court permitted the child to testify.  Cross examination established the unreliability of the allegations.

The following case results are in a different format because certain data used in the new format was not available at the time of the publication of this page. We apologize for the inconsistency and will be working to recover this data, including the date, case name, court and presiding judge.

Post Conviction Petition Leads to 50-Year Sentence Being Vacated

A DE man was convicted of two child sex abuse counts that resulted in a 50-year sentence. The client was guilty of lesser offenses but convicted of much more serious charges. Tom Pavlinic and Kate Aaronson were retained to obtain post conviction relief. An analysis of the evidence showed that the trial attorney failed to challenge the competency of a 4-year old child whose testimony was “tainted” by suggestion.

After the post conviction petition was filed, trial counsel was presented with the affidavit of the psychologist retained to provide expert testimony on suggestion. To his credit, trial counsel admitted that he was ineffective for failing to understand and raise the competency challenge and submitted an affidavit to support the petition. Tom and Kate were able to have the old 50-year sentence vacated and structured a plea that resulted in a new 10-year sentence. Kate Aaronson deserves the credit for maneuvering this delicate case so deftly through the criminal justice system.

Not Guilty Verdict for Virginia Dentist in Court Trial

A Fairfax, VA dentist was accused of the sexual assault of a teenage girl who visited his home while his entire family as well as hers were there for a social engagement. On the morning of trial, the prosecutor dropped the sex assault count and pursued the case only as a simple assault hoping to increase his chances for a conviction. The court found our client not guilty. Tom Pavlinic and Kim Irving tried this case together.

4-Hour Jury Deliberation Results in Not Guilty Verdicts on All 6 Counts

A Maryland man who moved to York, PA with his girlfriend and her 3 children was accused by the girlfriend’s 12-year old daughter of indecent sexual assault, a crime that carries a 10-year minimum, mandatory term of incarceration. Our client’s family and friends aggressively rallied behind him to provide both emotional and financial support.

After a 3-day jury trial in which the defense presented the testimony of nearly a dozen fact and character witnesses, introduced many photographs as exhibits and utilized a power point presentation during closing argument, the jury entered not guilty verdicts on all 6 counts after 4 hours of deliberation. Tom Pavlinic acted as lead counsel and tried the case with local York County attorney, Jerry Lord.