EBENSBURG – A former security guard at Greater Johnstown Middle School accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old student was sentenced to house arrest, state probation and registration under Megan's law.
Zachary Jon Taylor, 30, entered a no-contest plea to indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old and corruption of minors, both misdemeanor counts, in September.
On Thursday, President Judge Norman Krumenacker III sentenced Taylor to three months of house arrest, followed by 21 months of state probation. Taylor is also ordered to register under Megan's law for 25 years, pay $2,600 in fines and fees and have no contact with the victim or the victim's family.
The state attorney general's office initially charged Taylor with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault and institutional sexual assault along with the charges for which he entered the no-contest plea.
A four-month investigation by the state attorney general's office, Cambria County District Attorney's Office, Greater Johnstown School District and Cambria County Children and Youth Services began when rumors allegedly began circulating about Taylor and the student.
Caseworkers with Children and Youth Services said the two communicated on Facebook, while a criminal complaint filed by investigators said Taylor gave the girl rides on school elevators while he was an employee of Black Knight Security Agency, a private security company contracted through the school district.
Authorities allege Taylor drove the girl to a nearby cemetery after school one day in April and assaulted her.
Taylor maintained his innocence since the charges were filed. His attorney, John Lovette III, told Krumenacker prior to sentencing that Taylor has no criminal history, was honorably discharged from the Pennsylvania National Guard and has a history of employment.
The state's Sexual Offenders Assessment Board determined that Taylor did not meet the criteria of a sexually violent predator.
When Krumenacker asked Taylor if he understood the board's assessment, Taylor said he saw it as "a waste of good tax money if you ask me."
Prior to the hearing, Taylor also asked a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat if he could smile for a photo to accompany the story about him rather than using a mugshot he called "emotionless."
As part of the conditions of his sentence, Taylor is not to use any type of social media, cannot obtain employment at an operation related to the primary care of minors and have no contact with minors for any reason unless supervised by a third party.
Taylor questioned whether prohibited use of social media was a violation of his free speech, explaining that he uses Facebook to sell collectibles for income while he's unemployed.
Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General Patrick Schulte agreed to modify this condition to prohibit Taylor's use of social media to communicate with minors, but Krumenacker denied the suggestion.
"I find your conduct and use of your position at the school reprehensible," Krumenacker said, telling Taylor he should file an appeal if he feels the conditions of his sentence violate his freedom of speech.
Jocelyn Brumbaugh is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter @JBrumbaughTD.