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February 02, 2005

PSU professor charged with 25 counts of child sexual abuse

February 2, 2005 [Associated Press]

PHILADELPHIA - A Penn State professor emeritus who is regarded as an expert on early-childhood education and autism is facing more than 25 charges of child sexual abuse dating to the late 1970s.

John T. Neisworth, 67, is scheduled to stand trial in Maryland on April 19.

The charges have no connection to Neisworth's work for Penn State. The alleged victim, an Arizona resident, contends that he was repeatedly abused for several years by Neisworth and two other men in and near his then-hometown of Bear, Del., starting when he was 12 years old.

The alleged victim, whose name is being withheld because of the nature of the charges, said he had suppressed the memories until five years ago.

The other men facing charges are Karl Goeke, 58, of Los Angeles, and David A. Smith, 64, of Pittsburgh. Smith and Neisworth already appeared in court in Cecil County, Md., and were released on unsecured bond and Goeke soon will be extradited to Cecil County, police said.

The alleged victim said that Goeke lived near the his family, and he met Neisworth and Smith through Goeke.

The alleged victim said he contacted authorities in Maryland, where he contends he visited often with Neisworth, because the statute of limitations had expired in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

In 2001, he filed a civil suit against Neisworth and Goeke in State Superior Court in Camden County, N.J. That case was settled in 2002, and the alleged victim said he received a cash settlement, but the terms are not public.

Neisworth retired from his full-time professorship in 2002, but he continues to teach a distance-education course, university officials said. Neither Neisworth nor his lawyer could be reached for comment.

Neisworth is the author of at least a dozen books on early-childhood education and autism.

"He has an impeccable record as a scholar, and he's been a fine member of the faculty here," said David H. Monk, dean of the university's College of Education. Penn State is not investigating Neisworth's activities at the university, Monk said.

Posted by Nancy at February 2, 2005 05:58 PM