Pennsylvania district attorney arrested, charged with rape and strangulation

Somerset County, Pennsylvania, District Attorney Jeffrey Thomas was arrested Wednesday and charged with a multitude of serious crimes, including rape and strangulation.

Two women, including his alleged rape victim, have been granted temporary protection from abuse orders against him, WTAJ-TV reported.

“On September 21, 2021, members of the Pennsylvania State Police began an investigation into a sexual assault reported to have occurred on September 18, 2021 at approximately 11:00 p.m. at a residence in Windber Borough, Somerset County,” state police said in a statement.

“Upon investigation, troopers determined that Mr. Thomas entered the home of an adult female acquaintance, without permission, and remained there after being told to leave. Mr. Thomas is accused of then sexually and physically assaulting the female victim inside the residence.”

A criminal complaint filed against Thomas described some of his alleged actions in more detail.

“Thomas allegedly arrived with several cans of beer and became ‘agitated’ after the woman rejected his advances, told him to leave and slapped him. Thomas then struck her in the face, grabbed her by the neck and then raped her on her couch, Corporal Matthew Auker wrote in the complaint,” The Tribune-Democrat reported.

“Auker wrote that Thomas only left after the woman told him she wouldn’t contact the police,” the outlet added. “The woman’s child was in the residence during the attack, according to the police report.”

The woman has known Thomas professionally for several years, she told police.

Thomas was charged with rape, strangulation, simple assault, indecent assault and criminal trespass, according to The Daily American. On Thursday, he posted bail.

This is not the first time Thomas has faced allegations of misconduct.

Last year, “Richland Township police filed summary citations, including harassment, against Thomas for altercations involving workers at a local gymnastics facility and a pizzeria during his daughter’s birthday,” according to The Tribune-Democrat.

“He was accused of using ‘vulgar and abusive’ language while staff and customers were present at the pizza shop. He returned to the gym for the party and tried to pick a fight with the gymnastics business owner’s husband, Uzelac Gymnastics owner Brenda Uzelac said at the time,” the outlet added.

Thomas eventually apologized, and the charges were dropped.

Regarding the most recent allegation, Thomas has maintained his innocence via his lawyer.

“Jeffrey has worked very hard to protect the rights of victims in Somerset County and it’s hard for me to believe these allegations are true,” the lawyer, Ryan Tutera, told The Tribune-Democrat. “We believe there’s more to this story than what is being told.”

But in a statement, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro called the charges Thomas is facing “deeply disturbing.”

“Mr. Thomas is entrusted by the public to uphold the law and serve as a voice for victims,” Shapiro said. “I commend the bravery of the victim that has come forward — that is never an easy thing to do, especially when your abuser is a powerful elected official. Today is a reminder that no one is above the law.”

The alleged victim was also granted a temporary protection from abuse order against Thomas’ wife.

“The alleged victim, in her petition against Amy Thomas, indicated she showed up at an eatery, took pictures of the alleged victim’s vehicle and has a ‘history of harassment, primarily in 2019,'” according to WTAJ.

Moreover, a second woman’s temporary PFA against Jeffrey Thomas was granted as well. That woman, who described herself as a “current or former sexual or intimate partner” of Thomas, said that “on numerous occasions, Mr. Thomas has come to my home uninvited while intoxicated. On July 9, 2021, he used my spare key outside my prior residence to let himself in.”