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Man charged with rape eligible for reduced supervision

An Eldred Township man charged with the alleged rape of a mentally disabled woman received relief from intensive supervised bail Friday.

Between January 2009 and July 2018, Bruce D. Stuart, 60, allegedly engaged in multiple indecent acts with a woman who, in early-November 2019, was deemed too disabled to understand or give consent

A psychologist, who testified at the earlier hearing, estimated her to have an IQ of 40.

In court Friday, Robert Hoffa, Stuart’s attorney, said the amount of checks required in the supervised bail program were “excessive.”

Stuart was arrested in February 2019 and released later that month on unsecured bail, said Hoffa. In that time, there have been no issues and Stuart has complied with all regulations.

As someone who is self-employed, Stuart uses a building near his prior residence at 316 Ridge Top Road, however his monitoring device bars him from traveling close to that location due to his bail restrictions.

Lee Fry, assistant district attorney, said the terms of Stuart’s release kept other issues from arising.

“There were no violations because bail and the restrictions were appropriate,” he said.

The monitoring system and checks with bail supervision ensure there can be no witness intimidation or threat to society, he added.

President Judge Nancy L. Butts said his threat to society is reduced due to the nature of his charges.

“This seems to be an isolated incident involving one person, who isn’t under 18,” she said.

She agreed to take him off of intense supervised bail, but there would be harsh consequences if there was any contact with the victim or if Stuart walked onto the property along Ridge Top Road.

“His freedom is at risk,” she said. “Should he fail to comply with those conditions, his bail will be revoked.”

Stuart’s next pre-trial motion will be before Butts, scheduled for 9 a.m. on March 17.