State police charge man in connection with sexual assault from the 1980s

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HUNLOCK TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — State police arrested a man on sexual assault charges Wednesday, 40 years after the first alleged assault.

A pattern of alleged sexual abuse buried for decades is now brought to the surface. And there could be more to the story. State police at Shickshinny arrested Richard Garnett on sexual assault charges Wednesday, four decades after the first alleged assault.

67-year-old Garnett, of Hunlock Township, was arrested on charges he sexually assaulted two children under the age of 10, between 1980 and 1984. Police learned of the alleged assaults while investigating a different case.

Court documents say Garnett was affiliated with this Roaring Brook Baptist Church. The affidavit says he also came here for counseling for one of the victim’s “coming forward,” but it’s unclear what that means.

One of Garnett’s relatives declined to appear on camera but told Eyewitness News Garnett was being counseled by a pastor at the time, but they never knew why. Neighbors tell us Garnett was involved in the church’s Awana – an Evangelical Christian youth program.

Troopers searched Roaring Brook Baptist Church in December of 2017. The warrant detailed allegations of child sex abuse at the church. But these allegations named Pastor Dan Brubaker, not Garnett.

Court documents indicate troopers were looking for youth club records. According to Garnett’s affidavit, his alleged abuse took place outside the church and the assaults occurred multiple times.

After two separate investigations were completed, police were able to arrest Garnett and set bail to $175,000.

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