Friday, January 10th 48 year old Eric Wright appeared in court for the first time to face charges against him that he has targeted women and children and sexually assaulted them over a 20 year period.
According to Trib Live, Wright shook his head "no" each time District Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec read one of the 23 charges filed against him in a preliminary arraignment.
Allegheny Township Police initiated an investigation into Wright after a young girl came into their station with her mother in October of last year and reported that she had been raped and assaulted multiple times between June and October when she was 12 years old. She additionally told police that Wright had told her not to tell anyone according to the criminal complaint filed against him.
Chief Duane Fisher of the Allegheny Township Police stated “it became clear… that this was not an isolated incident.”
Due to the length of time between the reported crimes Wright has been charged with to date, police believe there are other victims that have not yet come forward. Their investigation revealed that Wright “committed numerous sexually-related crimes against numerous victims.”
“People that are the victims are humiliated by it, even in some of the lesser where they may not have been touched or assaulted, maybe just exposed. Quite frankly, it’s something they don’t want to talk about or deal with,” Fisher said.
During the course of their investigation police identified another victim that stated Wright had abused her between 2000 and 2004 while she was a teenager. Police stated that the first assault occurred when she was 14.
An additional victim out of Vandergrift was located. The 50 year old woman stated that Wright exposed himself to her when she attempted to leave her place of business.
In a press release, the Allegheny Township Police Department stated "Sexual assaults upon our children are one of the most serious and heinous crimes we investigate. Adults who prey on our young for sexual gratification rob them of their very innocence and trust. We cannot rest until such individuals are detected, arrested, and prosecuted in order to preserve and protect the very future of society.”
Wright was ordered held on a combined bond of $1 million and sent to the Westmoreland County Prison where he is awaiting his preliminary hearing which is scheduled for January 21st at 10:15 am.
Anyone with additional information on Wright, or who maybe a victim that has not come forward, is being urged to call the Allegheny Township Police lead investigator on the case at 724-236-0202.