Harrisburg man will serve 6-12 years in prison for raping a 12-year-old girl in 2016

DAUPHIN COUNTY — A 21-year-old Harrisburg man will serve six to 12 years in state prison for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in 2016, according to the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office.

Joseph Rivera-Rivera was sentenced by Judge William T. Tully at a hearing Wednesday. He pleaded guilty to rape of a child, unlawful contact with a minor, and corruption of a minor in January.

The police investigation determined that Rivera-Rivera assaulted the girl on two separate occasions during the summer of 2016. The girl described how the defendant pinned her down and refused to stop engaging in intercourse with her despite her pleas for him to stop.

During the sentencing, defense counsel argued for a mitigated sentence citing the age of the defendant and that his admission of guilt avoided a potential trial for the young girl.

Judge Tully acknowledged that the defendant did not re-victimize the girl with a trial, but indicated that he could not ignore that the defendant had assaulted the girl twice.

In denying the request for mitigation, the judge told Rivera-Rivera “You knew she did not want to have contact with you — and you proceeded to only think about what you wanted.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gettle noted that the victim has struggled to recover from the assaults,

“She engaged in self-harm and a suicide attempt—we hope her presence at sentencing will give her a sense of justice and the closure she needs.”

The court also sentenced the defendant to be on a consecutive period of five years of probation, to undergo sexual offender’s treatment, and to be a lifetime registrant under Megan’s Law.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.