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Female addicts describe sex assault | News, Sports, Jobs

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HOLLIDAYSBURG — An Altoona woman on Thursday recalled being in a semi-conscious, drugged state while hearing two men speak of their intentions to rape her.

She later awoke on the floor, she said, with pain between her thighs.

“I was naked and could barely walk,” the woman testified.

Another Altoona woman spoke of feeling forced to engage in sexual relations. She said she didn’t want her heroin supplier to become upset and physically hurt her. She also wanted the heroin that he would supply in return for sex.

The graphic testimony from the female addicts, presented during a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Daniel DeAntonio, offered a glimpse of life in 2020 and 2021 for some local women allegedly controlled by five Altoona men now charged with human trafficking, involuntary servitude, rape, sexual assault and other offenses.

At the end of Thursday’s preliminary hearing for one of the five men, 60-year-old Donald “The Rev” Dargan, DeAntonio forwarded all charges to county court including drug delivery resulting in the death of 38-year-old Colleen Buck.

Buck died in Dargan’s third-floor apartment on the 800 block of Sixth Avenue in January 2021, with test results showing the cause to be an acute fentanyl overdose.

Defense attorney Richard Corcoran, who represents Dargan, told DeAntonio he had heard no evidence in support of the drug delivery offense.

“We don’t know that Mr. Dargan supplied the drugs that caused her death,” Corcoran told DeAntonio.

District Attorney Pete Weeks disagreed and pointed to Buck’s cause of death, along with testimony indicating that Dargan spoke of giving Buck a “hot shot” — defined by witnesses as a spiked drug dosage — that would have caused her to overdose.

DeAntonio showed no interest in excluding the charge or a criminal conspiracy charge that Corcoran argued wasn’t valid.

In addition to Dargan, Altoona police charged four additional men — Sean Atkins, 41; Derrick McNeal, 52; Quincy Wilson, 44; and Tony Ross, 45 — with human trafficking, involuntary servitude, rape and related sexual offenses. They waived their cases to common pleas court.

Attorney Robert Donaldson, who represents Atkins of Altoona, said the criminal complaint contains a lot of allegations including ones based on hearsay. Donaldson said he will await forthcoming information to decide on the challenges he’ll raise.

Defense attorney Thomas Farrell, who represents McNeal of Altoona, said he too will await additional information. At this time, Farrell said he knows nothing more about the case than what’s in the criminal complaint.

One of the addicts testifying, who described Ross as her boyfriend at one time, spoke of sharing a residence on the 900 block of Eighth Street with Atkins and some other women. It was Atkins, she said, who directed them into a back room where they engaged in sex with men.

Part of the money collected from the men, she said, was turned over to Dargan, who provided “the supply” of heroin.

That same female addict also reported being sexually assaulted on more than one occassion by Wilson, McNeal and Atkins. She accused Atkins, in September 2021, of using “all his force to hold me down and open my legs” before raping her.

Weeks and First Assistant District Attorney Nichole Smith praised the women for revealing what they’ve been enduring. Weeks also credited Altoona police officer Eric Heuston for an in-depth investigation.

“As a drug case prosecutor, I see these kind of sexual assault cases as an ongoing problem within this high-risk lifestyle,” Weeks said. “It’s something that’s been happening in Altoona and throughout the nation, and it’s something that we always want to take action on when we can and when we have the evidence.”

Weeks said that because of Heuston’s work and because of the victims coming forward, the criminal cases against all five men are moving into county court.

“This is what human trafficking looks like in Altoona,” Weeks said.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 814-946-7456.



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