Hearing set for man accused of kidnapping and rape of 5-year-old

Herr22843905_BG1Lancaster Township, Lancaster County – The man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl in Lancaster County is scheduled to go before a judge today.  The judge will have to decide if 73-year-old Harold Herr’s case should head towards a trial.

Harold Herr is already a registered sex offender after being found guilty of a similar crime back in 1989.  In that case, Herr abducted and raped a 5-year-old girl in a cornfield.  In this latest case, Herr is accused of kidnapping a 5-year-old girl from her grandmother’s house and sexually assaulting.  Now a judge today will have to decide during a preliminary hearing if the case should move toward trial.

It’s a nightmare situation for any parent, one minute a child is playing in the yard, the next, they are gone.

“The nature of having a 5-year-old girl abducted, even for a short period of time sends chills up and down all of our spines,” said Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman.

That was the scenario along Jennings Drive in Lancaster Township in mid-July.  A 5-year-old girl was taken while playing outside of her grandmother’s house.  Police say 73-year-old Harold Herr is the man responsible for the kidnapping and rape of a little girl that put a community on edge.

“I sit outside a lot now with my sister. She`s not outside by herself,” said neighbor Kelsi Rodriguez.

Court documents say Herr approached the girl and said that she was pretty and he wanted to “keep her.”  He then forced her into his car, threatened to kill her and sexually assaulted her.  After the assault, police say he bought the victim ice cream and went back to her neighborhood where he was spotted by two boys who were searching for the girl.

“The community really came out to help search for this young girl. In this case it was two boys who came out into the community looking for the young girl on their bikes,” said Manheim Township Police Chief Neil Harkins.

Herr is charged with 11 different crimes including kidnapping and sexual assault.  He faces a maximum of 100 years in jail.  The District Attorney says this type of case serves as a great reminder that anything can happen at any time.

“We encourage parents to be vigilant. That can be hard to do with multiple kids running around but this is a reminder about how things can change in a moment,” said Stedman.

According to court documents, Harold Herr told police he was not involved in this crime.  Today’s preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin at 3 pm before Magisterial District Justice Mary Mongiovi Sponaugle.  The prosecution will need to convince a judge that there is enough evidence to push this case towards a trial.