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Jury trial expected in Mark Frailey endagerment case

A former Tyrone School District Police Chief now accused of sexually assaulting a student is scheduled to stand trial on charges that he attempted to run down the victim’s father in February.
Following a preliminary hearing for 40-year-old Mark Frailey of Spruce Creek, District Magistrate Kenneth Garman felt county prosecutor Dave Gorman showed enough evidence to send misdemeanor charges of recklessly endangering another person, simple assault and harrasment into the Blair County Court of Common Pleas.
Prior to the hearing, as Frailey waited for things to get under way, members of the alleged victim’s family were led into the courtroom, including the young girl with whom Frailey is accused of engaging in an inappropriate sexual relationship. Frailey, seated at the defense table, turned and established eye contact with the young girl — a sustained glance which was returned and held for several seconds.
The related sex case is pending in Huntingdon County Court.
Wednesday’s scheduled 1 p.m. hearing got going shortly after 3 p.m., as Frailey’s defense council, Altoona Attorney Thomas Dickey, was delayed due to a required appearance in Blair County Court. Dickey apologized to Garman, stating he had asked Blair County Judge Jolene Kopriva for a continuance in the Blair County matter but his request was denied.
When things finally got rolling, Dickey started by soliciting another continuance, citing the fact that there was no court reporter. The defense attorney said testimony offered at the proceedings would be “vital” in building a case for his client, and he would need assurances an accurate transcript would be available.
Gorman submitted that the county would provide a recording device to document the testimony. Dickey expressed concern that testimony would be lost if a proper court reporter was not present.
“I have a schedule, too,” said District Magistrate Garman, directing his comments to Dickey. “I have a life. I’m getting tired of this.
“We’ve continued these proceedings twice already. The district attorney has assured me that testimony will be recorded and the defense will be given a copy. That’s good enough for me — we’re going to move ahead with this.”
DA Gorman first called the alleged victim, who outlined the events of the morning of Feb. 21. He stated he and his 14-year-old daughter — the younger sister of the alleged victim in the related sex case — were leaving his Tyrone Township home at roughly 11:30 a.m. to go have breakfast. As they pulled from the driveway they saw Frailey driving toward them, heading down what is a dead-end street.
The man said when they saw Frailey, he stopped his truck, turned around and followed Frailey, who had driven his truck to the end of the dead-end street, turned and was coming toward the victim’s vehicle once again. The man explained he stopped his truck along the road, at which time he got out of his truck and confronted Frailey. He said his daughter remained in the truck.
“I asked him what he was doing,” the man said. “I didn’t understand why he was there.”
According to the alleged victim, Frailey said he “had business up here.”
“I told him we’d let the police deal with this,” the man said, then testified that he stepped in front of Frailey’s truck to keep him at the location.
“Where was your daughter when all this was going on?” Dickey asked the witness.
“She was out of the truck standing along the road a this point,” the man returned.
“Did you ask this 14-year-old girl to stand in front of Mr. Frailey’s truck to keep him from leaving while you called the police?” Dickey queried.
“No,” the man replied.
The alleged victim said Frailey tried numerous times to get around him, but he would not move from in front of the Frailey vehicle. Then, the man said, Frailey “put it in gear and hit it,” going around him and leaving the scene. He told the court he literally had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit by Frailey’s truck.
Both parties then headed to the Tyrone Police Department, according to the witness.
The man said he remained calm throughout the exchange. Others who offered testimony painted a very different picture.
The alleged victim’s 14-year-old daughter was next called to the stand. While her account of the early parts of the incident held true to her father’s statements, as her testimony unfolded, her version began to fork.
“Who first noticed Mr. Frailey, you or your father?” Dickey asked the girl.
“I did,” she said.
“Did your father slam on the brakes when you pointed Mr. Frailey out?” Dickey returned.
“Yes,” the girl answered.
“So, your father was angry,” the attorney said.
“Yes,” she said.
The girl testified, after her father slammed on his brakes, he didn’t calmly turn his truck around and then pull off to the side of the road. Instead, she testified he put his truck in reverse, turned around in the street, moved toward Frailey and stopped his truck diagonally across the street, blocking Frailey’s path.
“Did your father yell anything like, ‘be a man, get out of the truck’ at Mr. Frailey?” Dickey questioned.
“I don’t remember,” the girl replied.
“Did you notice if Mr. Frailey was on his cell phone?” Dickey asked the girl.
“Yes he was,” she answered.
“Did your father at any time tell you to stand in front of Mr. Frailey’s truck while he phoned the police?” Dickey questioned.
“Yes,” she responded. “He didn’t want Frailey to leave.”
The final witness called was Frailey’s mother, Dorothy Kline, with whom Frailey was speaking on the cell phone during the February exchange.
“Did you hear anyone on the other end of the phone yelling at your son?” Dickey asked.
“Yes,” she responded.
“What did you hear?” he queried.
“Someone was yelling, ‘be a man, get out of the truck,”’ she said.
It was Dickey’s intent to illustrate that the alleged victim was the aggressor on the morning of Feb. 21. The attorney said the man blocked Frailey’s path, verbally assaulted him and then put his own daughter’s life at risk by telling her to stand in front of a moving vehicle.
“If anyone is guilty of reckless endangerment, it’s this man,” Dickey said, referring to the alleged victim. “I ask that these charges be dismissed.”
Despite the compelling testimony, Gorman said the matter would proceed to arraignment. DA Gorman said this will more than likely be waived and a Blair County trial date will be set.
Frailey faces charges of corruption of a minor, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful use of a computer in the related sex case. Last November, Frailey initially denied having sexual contact with the then 16-year-old juvenile — the older daughter of the alleged victim in Wednesday’s case — but later recanted, stating the activity was “consensual.”
Frailey is being housed at Huntingdon County Prison. His bail was revoked last month after this latest arrest. Huntingdon County DA Robert Stewart III said Frailey could face the sex charges sometime in May.
“Legally, the next step will be his formal arraignment and after that, a jury trial,” said Gorman this morning. “I can’t see what, if any, pre-trial motions can be filed by Mr. Dickey (Thomas, Frailey’s attorney). He can be creative as the next guy as far as filing motions, but I just can’t see any being filed. I think a jury trial will be the next thing we see in this case.”
Now, Frailey faces two jury trials.
He is also charged with three felony counts of endangering the welfare of children, unlawful use of a computer and three charges of corruption of minors in connection with a 16-year-old Tyrone High School female student. Those charges were filed by Huntingdon-based state police late last year, and after Frailey violated a court-ordered Protection From Abuse Order for contacting the sexual misconduct victim by phone, he entered into a “no contest” plea agreement for 12 days incarceration in exchange for waiving the charges.
Gorman said the Huntingdon case is scheduled to go to trial sometime in April or May, and that will have an impact on when the endangerment case will be heard in Blair County.
“We really can’t be sure when it will go,” said Gorman.
The investigation into the sexual misconduct case began last August when the 16-year-old’s mother became suspicious of her daughter’s activities with Frailey. Frailey coached the girl on the school’s softball team and also instructed a group known as the Police Explorers and Students Against Drunk Driving.
Police investigations revealed Frailey admitting to having sexual intercourse with the girl on three occassions, and search warrants turned up numerous e-mail and instant messages from Frailey to the victim.