TOWANDA, PA (WSKG) — Former Bradford County District Attorney Chad Salsman was sentenced to up to five years in Pennsylvania state prison after pleading guilty to coercing several women into sex acts while he was a private defense attorney.
Salsman had entered into a guilty plea with the Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office in May on a felony charge of promoting prostitution and misdemeanor charges of intimidating a witness and obstruction of justice.
Five of Salsman’s victims addressed the court Friday, including two in person. They all asked Judge Joseph M. Augello to sentence Salsman to prison time.
“I just wanted to die,” one of the witnesses said recounting her abuse while a client of Salsman.
Salsman asked the judge multiple times for “mercy.” He also apologized to the victims and the people of Bradford County. Addressing the courtroom, Salsman said he crossed lines he never thought he would and added there was no excuse.
Salsman’s sister, Jody Salsman, also spoke. She promoted her brother as “the best girl dad” and asked the judge for leniency. She was seated in the courtroom next Salsman’s wife, father and aunt.
Salsman’s defense attorney called Richard Fischbein, a board certified forensic psychiatrist, to testify about Salsman’s mental state. Fischbein said Salsman has a mixed personality disorder and displayed behaviors of a “psychopathic deviant,” which included addiction to sex.
Both testimonies were aimed at convincing the judge not to sentence Salsman to prison, arguing that confining him to house arrest would allow him to access better mental health treatment and continue financially supporting his family.
Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Daniel Dye called Salsman’s defense a “tale of woe,” arguing Salsman’s abuse of his position of power as district attorney warranted a strong penalty.
“He held this county hostage,” Dye told reporters outside the courthouse. “He was the district attorney. He was obstructing justice. Thanks to those brave victims. He’s no longer the district attorney and now he’s a convicted felon.”
The sentence issued by the judge requires Salsman to serve eighteen to sixty months in a state prison. His defense attorney told the judge that serving time in the county jail was a safety risk because Salsman was a former prosecutor.
In addition to prison time, Salsman will spend six years on probation, in which time he cannot leave the state. He will also have to complete 200 hours of community service and a treatment program for sex offenses.