Man fails to adhere to Megan's Law statute
MOUNT CARMEL - A borough man who was charged in 2008 with the rape of a 14 year old was jailed Tuesday for allegedly violating the Megan's Law statute.
James E. Bucher, 66, of 150 Merriam St., was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Hugh Jones on a felony charge of failing to comply with registration requirements related to a vehicle he was using. The investigation was spurred by an incident last month in which Bucher was allegedly waving at young girls.
Following the court appearance, he was taken to Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital, according to constable Patrick Reynolds, for an anxiety attack and for treatment of conditions related to his diabetes.
Following the hospital visit, Bucher was transported to Northumberland County Prison, where he was committed on $75,000 straight bail.
Waving at girls
According to a criminal complaint filed by Mount Carmel Borough Police Cpl. David Donkochik, police investigated a Sept. 3 report of a strange man driving around a residential neighborhood in the 400 block of West Avenue and waving at the complainant's 12-year-old daughter and her friends, making them uncomfortable.
Some of the children called Bucher "Greenie" because of the green vehicle he was driving. They had seen him before in the area of the Sixth Street playground, and had seen him take photos there, police said.
The mother who reported the incident showed pictures on the Megan Law's website to her daughter and she identified "Greenie" as Bucher. He is listed on the site as a Tier 2 sexual offender, which means he must register on the site for 25 years and appear for verification twice a year.
Charges from 2009
Bucher was required to register on the site after pleading guilty to charges of unlawful contact with a minor-sexual offenses and corruption of minors in Schuylkill County in February 2009. Butler Township police reported at the time that Bucher showed up at the Lavelle home of a 14-year-old girl in August 2008, lured her into his vehicle, drove to a remote location and raped her. He was sentenced to 11 1/2 to 23 months in prison on the unlawful contact charge and five years probation for the corruption of minors charge.
The most serious offenses, including rape, sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault without consent, were withdrawn at Bucher's preliminary hearing, while charges of statutory sexual assault, indecent assault with both forcible compulsion and without consent, and luring a child into a vehicle were not prosecuted through a plea deal.
Vehicle not registered
Police approached Bucher at his residence and Donkochik noted in court papers that he seemed nervous. The officer advised Bucher there was a complaint made about him driving around a residential area in a green car and attempting to make contact with children.
Bucher denied it was him and said he was around his house all day. Asked if he had a green car, he stated his wife has one that she uses for work. The car is a two-door, teal green Pontiac Sunfire.
Donkochik went back to the complainant and showed her cell phone pictures of the car and Bucher. She said it was the car and person she saw.
Police accessed records as to what vehicles Bucher has registered through the state. They include a 1995 silver Chevrolet S10 pickup, a 2008 red Chevy Cobalt, a combined Model A and Model T car reproduction and a 1955 red Ford Thunderbird.
There was no notification to police that he has access to his wife's vehicle, police reported, prompting the violation charge.
Bucher is scheduled to appear before Jones for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, Oct. 16.