Retired Pennsylvania politician William Spingler was convicted this week of repeatedly groping his 103–year–old mother–in–law while visiting her in a nursing home.
Spingler, 75, a Democratic former commissioner in the Delaware County township of Radnor, had a 30–year career in politics before retiring in 2015.
Staff at the Wayne Nursing Home reported Spingler to police last December after they saw the ex–politician repeatedly grope his centenarian mother–in–law, who has dementia, on at least three occasions. Spingler admitted two of those attacks, but denied a third. Witnesses also say he admitted to forcibly kissing her despite pleas for him to stop.
A jury on Thursday found Spingler guilty of indecent assault on a person with a mental disability, the Daily Mail reported. Sentencing in the case is scheduled for September, and Spingler was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation. He also likely will be required to register as a sex offender.
A police report description of the victim published by the Daily Mail stated:
‘(She) is 103 years old and is diagnosed with dementia, unspecified lack of coordination, muscle weakness, anxiety disorder and difficulty walking.
‘(She) is physically and mentally unable to defend herself and is completely dependent upon staff to provide all activities of daily living care 24/7.’
According to the New York Daily News, Spingler had lived with the victim for eight years before moving her to the nursing home. The victim’s daughter and Spingler’s former wife died in 2007.
At his trial, Spingler said he had made “the biggest mistake of my life.”
“I thought for shock value, you know, I could get her to say something, let her know I was there,” he said, according to the Daily Mail. “I touched her breast. It was the dumbest thing I ever did, but I did it to get her attention and let her know that I was there.”
Spingler is free on bail pending sentencing.