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Convicted child abuser Rickie Gaddis is led into Judge Gerard Long's courtroom by sheriff's Deputy Vern Ocilko on Friday in Ebensburg.

Judge Gerard Long refused Friday to release a notorious child rapist/torturer from his record-long prison term to get medical treatment for cancer and heart problems.

“I have no authority and don’t have the desire to do that,” Long told 49-year-old Rickie Gaddis.

Rather than delaying a decision until Gaddis’ medical records could be obtained, the judge acted immediately under the assumption that the medical claims are true.

Gaddis, a former Johnstown resident, is serving 235 to 470 years in prison in the sexual abuse, torture and beating of several of his seven children. He is an inmate at SCI-Frackville, north of Reading.

Gaddis was convicted in two trials here in 1991 and 1992 on more than 150 charges. Former Johnstown police Chief Linda Weaver described the case as the worst child abuse she investigated as a city detective.

The child rapist primarily wanted to be paroled from prison or have his sentence altered so he could go to a personal-care home, hospice or similar facility.

But Long, after hearing Gaddis describe some of the medical care he has been receiving, also refused to order the state Department of Corrections to transfer him to SCI-Laurel Highlands in Somerset County, a treatment center for state inmates.

Gaddis testified that, during the last two years, he has had four strokes and a heart attack and has cancer in his hip, prostate and bladder.

He said he has been treated at six hospitals, with stays ranging from three days to three weeks.

Frackville, which does not have a treatment center, has returned him to his cellblock after his hospitalizations, Gaddis said.

John Kasaback, Gaddis’ court-appointed attorney, said Gaddis has not received any aggressive treatment for his cancer. That reportedly would be available at Laurel Highlands, he said.

But Long – who could order a transfer – said he would not step into the DOC’s area of responsibility.

“They’re in a better position than I am to do what’s best,” the judge said after hearing about the various hospitalizations.

“There’s been no testimony showing the DOC has been grossly inappropriate or even negligent in the treatment of this prisoner.”

Afterward, District Attorney Patrick Kiniry said Long’s decisions were legal and appropriate.

“When you think back to what he (Gaddis) did and the injuries he inflicted upon his children, you wonder if there’s another sense of justice here,” Kiniry said.

Kasaback said Gaddis will attempt to follow procedures through the state prison system for a transfer to Laurel Highlands.

Gaddis, wearing brown prison garb and a brown jacket with “DOC” printed on the back in large block letters, was subdued and softspoken when addressing Long. He will be returned to Frackville by sheriff’s deputies, probably early next week, Sheriff Bob Kolar said.

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