A judge on Friday allowed two Glastonbury men, accused two years ago of sexually assaulting two of their nine adopted boys, to withdraw their no-contest pleas and take their cases to trial.
The unusual action came during what was to be a sentencing hearing for George Harasz and Douglas Wirth, who entered pleas in January to one felony count each of risk of injury to a minor. They agreed to suspended prison sentences. The only issue for Friday’s hearing was to be whether each would be required to register as sex offenders.
But a new allegation of sexual assault against Harasz by one of the victims, contained in a pre-sentence investigation of Harasz, helped scrap the plea agreement. The case was further clouded Friday by disclosure in court of new allegations of abuse by three other of the nine children. No new criminal charges have been filed.
The new information gives rise to the possibility of new criminal charges, and therefore continuing with Friday’s planned sentencing would not have been prudent, prosecutor David Zagaja told Judge Joan K. Alexander. Further, Zagaja said, the victim has said he wants to testify against Wirth and Harasz at trial.
“I think the only proper resolution of this matter is to try it,” Zagaja said.
Initially, Harasz, 49, was charged with two counts of first-degree sexual assault, aggravated first-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault, two counts of risk of injury to a minor and cruelty to persons. Wirth, 45, was initially charged with third-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor. Those charges were reduced to a single charge for each man as part of the plea agreement.
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