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Former Altoona Asst. Fire Chief Charged with Sexual Assault

The preliminary hearing for former Altoona Assistant Fire Chief Matthew Detrich took place in Martinsburg earlier this afternoon.

He is accused of a host of charges headlined by statutory sexual assault.

The hearing occurred in the building behind me with Magisterial District Judge Andrew Blattenberger Presiding.

Detrich is accused of sexually assaulting a 15 year old girl repeatedly between 2014 and 2016.

Today, the alleged victim spoke to the court, recalling the emotional and physical distress Detrich allegedly put her through.

Given Detrich’s status as a former first responder, people close to the case tells us they are worried he may receive preferential treatment.

However, Blair County District Attorney Peter Weeks swiftly dismissed that notion.

“This case will be handled objectively by the investigating officer, Lieutenant Ashley Day, and the Blair County District Attorney’s Office…In fact, when you’re dealing with first responders and any
public servants…our expectation is that we hold ourselves to a higher standard, I would include myself in that…so we’re certainly not going to treat anyone differently when they’re charged with
serious offenses and we’ll go about the business of prosecuting this case just like we would any similarly situated case.”

Detrich and his attorneys quickly left the building after the hearing, declining to comment.

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