TOWANDA, PA (AP) – A Pennsylvania prosecutor was charged Wednesday of sexually assaulting women who were his clients on criminal and custody cases while he was serving as a defense attorney.
Bradford District Attorney Chad Michael Salsman has been charged with three sexual assaults, five indecent assaults, intimidation of witnesses, obstruction and promotion of prostitution.
A large jury heard women describe being forced and assaulted.
Authorities said Salsman dropped charges against a client in custody after she started having sex with him. They said a woman told Salsman that she had been raped and the next time she saw him he instructed her to enter his Towanda office through a back door and undress.
He reportedly told the women to keep quiet about his attacks, and people who worked in his law firm told investigators they had repeatedly seen female clients leave his office crying.
A woman who answered the phone at the Bradford District Attorney’s office on Wednesday said he had instructed her to write down email addresses of reporters inquiring about the charges.
“Five independent women as defense lawyers experienced the same pattern of advancement, coercion and assault by Mr. Salsman,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a press release. “They had to rely on Salsman to be their lawyer to represent them at a time when they felt powerless and instead they were persecuted.”
A grand jury report released last week said there were other women who reported similar attacks, but these cases emerged too long ago for criminal charges. He started working as a lawyer in 2001.
The case was referred to the attorney general by a former Bradford County district attorney in late 2019, the grand jury wrote.
Salsman, a 44-year-old Republican, was elected as the chief prosecutor in the rural county along the New York Line in November 2019.
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