Public defender ordered
SUNBURY - President Judge William H. Wiest has ordered a public defender to represent a former teacher's aide at Shamokin Area Middle-High School charged with three felony counts of institutional sexual assault.
Amanda Dreher, 29, of Coal Township, who was previously ruled ineligible for a public defender because of her income, told the judge she no longer has a job and is in the process of getting a divorce.
At her preliminary hearing in May, Dreher said she was living with her grandmother in Coal Township after previously residing at 1761 Tioga St.
Wiest ordered a public defender to represent Dreher at her next court appearance and continued Monday's legal proceeding in which Dreher was listed on the schedule to enter a plea in the case. But assistant district attorney Michael Seward said the defendant has not indicated if she intends to plead guilty or no contest, or seek a trial.
Seward said legal proceedings July 7 and Aug. 25 also were continued because she didn't have a lawyer, but Monday was the first time Dreher appeared before a county judge to request an attorney.
Dreher, who remains free on $5,000 recognizance bail, is charged by Coal Township Detective Jeff Brennan with having sex with an 18-year-old male student in the school three times between the beginning of January and the end of February.
The maximum penalty for each offense is seven years and/or $15,000 fine.
Dreher resigned from her teacher's aide position in April. She had held the position for approximately one year.
According to a criminal complaint, Dreher is accused of engaging in sexual intercourse with the student, who was not identified by police. The victim, who was a senior at the time, told police two of the sexual encounters occurred in the boys' locker room at the swimming pool.
Brennan said the investigation began March 19 when he was contacted by Shamokin Area Middle-High School Principal Chris Venna about allegations of inappropriate contact between Dreher and the student.