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3 charges of rape advance, others tossed

After hearing 30 minutes of testimony, a district judge just tossed out nearly 40 percent of the state police charges against Bruce Stuart.

But District Judge Gary Whiteman ruled there was sufficient evidence to hold Stuart, who turns 60 on Thursday, on the remaining 66 of 108 charges that investigators filed last month.

Stuart, who remained behind bars at the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $100,000 as of Friday, is accused of raping the woman on multiple occasions in his home at 316 Ridge Top Road in Eldred Township between January 2009 and last July, police said in court papers.

The victim, who suffers a mental disability, was the only person to testify at Stuart’s preliminary hearing.

Stuart was initially charged with 15 counts of rape, but the judge dismissed all but three of them. Whiteman held him on 12 of 21 counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, 16 of 28 counts of aggravated indecent assault, 28 of 36 counts of indecent assault and six of seven sexual assault charges. Stuart also was held on one count of strangulation.

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