Knox Man to Face Trial on 180 Charges Related to Alleged Sexual Abuse of Underage Girls

cujasKNOX, Pa. (EYT) – A Knox man has been held for trial on 180 charges stemming from alleged child sex abuse involving nine female juveniles.

Aaron Joseph Cujas, of Knox, was charged on March 4 with 193 offenses involving nine female juvenile victims, ages 8-10.

Cujas was arraigned on March 5 in front of Magisterial District Judge Amy Long Turk and was charged with the following offenses:

– 9 Counts of Aggravated Indecent Assault of Child, Felony 1
– 9 Counts of Criminal Solicitation – Aggravated Indecent Assault of Child, Felony 1
– 9 Counts of Criminal Attempt – Aggravated Indecent Assault of Child, Felony 1
– 9 Counts of Aggravated Indecent Assault – Comp. Less Than 13 Years Old, Felony 2
– 9 Counts of Aggravated Indecent Assault without Consent, Felony 2
– 30 Counts of Corruption Of Minors – Defendant Age 18 or Above, Felony 3
– 30 Counts of Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Misdemeanor 1
– 29 Counts of Indecent Assault Person Less than 13 Years of Age, Misdemeanor 1
– 29 Counts of Indecent Assault-W/O Cons Of Other, Misdemeanor 2
– 30 Counts of Harassment – Subject Other to Physical Contact, Summary

In an April 21 preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Amy Long Turk, it was determined that Cujas will go to trial on 180 of those charges. Thirteen charges were withdrawn.

According to a criminal complaint, the investigation began when victim one and her father contacted Clarion-based State Police and reported that Cujas allegedly pulled the victim’s underwear off while lying in his bed at a time when he was partially under the covers holding a tablet/video player, and she and victim two were on top of the covers with their feet towards his head.

Cujas allegedly asked for her underwear, and victim two was allegedly told to remove her underwear and did. Victim one also said Cujas kept her underwear for a length of time and that she only got them back when she later saw them on the floor. Both victims were in a dress but now without underwear and their naked bottoms were exposed. Victim one also related that she got “smacked on the bum” twice by Cujas’ hand while in her underwear. As she was ready to leave that day, Cujas allegedly pulled down her underwear again and placed them on his head. Victim one says no other adult was present. This occurred on February 8, 2014.

The previous day, on February 7, 2014, victim one allegedly had her pants pulled down while at the home of Cujas. In her words, “once and a while” when asked how many times she says “80.” On February 7, 2014, victim one said she witnessed other children have their pants and underwear pulled down by Cujas. She said this was the night of the tea party at Cujas’ home. She said she and four other victims were present. She recalled one victim having her pants pulled down. Victim one said Cujas would say “I’m going to pants you, hold up your shirt.” She said this went on while Cujas’ wife was downstairs cleaning up from the tea party. Victim one also related that these acts occurred at Cujas’ Knox Commons apartment in Knox, Pa. Victim one said Cujas would see her “downstairs” meaning her private area.

Based on the report of events that occurred on February 8, 2014, other victims were discovered. Trooper Allen and Corporal Weaver then sought out two other victims who related in a written statement with their father present that Cujas has/does pull down their pants and underwear and smack their bare bottoms – that he gives them “wedgies” and that he gives them “bulldog,” which is to have your pants and underwear pulled down exposing your naked bottom.

Through an interview with Cujas’ wife, additional names of children were learned. On February 11, 2014, Arresting Officer Simko made contact with the families of these children.

Another victim was interviewed on February 12, 2014, at PSP Clarion by Simko and forensically interviewed on February 24, 2014. And, another victim was interviewed forensically by the Executive Direction/Forensic Interviewer of Jefferson Co. Pa. Cares on February 13 and then interviewed by Simko on February 19, 2014, at PSP Clarion. These two victims were able to describe events that occurred to them and others similarly as they were at times at Cujas’ home on the same times and dates.

One of these victims first described to Simko sleepovers and shower scenes in Cujas’ home and was able to describe going to and spending the night at Cujas’ home on January 30 to January 31, 2014. She was with three other victims. She said Cujas put all four girls into the shower and that he kept coming in and out of the room. She also related all the girls didn’t fit in the shower, so they were put through in smaller groups. She said in both interviews that Cujas only washed both her and another victim’s hair.

On February 18, 2014, two victims were interviewed by Pa. Cares by the Executive Director and related the following:

The victim said two other victims were at Cujas’ home for a sleepover. She said Cujas was touching others “inappropriately.” She said Cujas invented “bulldog.” She said one victim was the number one person Cujas did “bulldog” to. She said it was “a million times” She said she repeatedly got “wedgies.”

She told Simko that Cujas said, “I don’t do this because I’m a freak. I do it because it’s fun.”

This reference was to “bulldog.”

The other victim interviewed by Pa. Cares related to the Executive Director the following:

Five victims were present at the residence. She said Cujas pulled her pants down to her feet, and his wife was not around. She said she does not like having her pants pulled down; it’s inappropriate and a “bad thing.” She described playing in dresses with another victim and having their pants pulled down. She said Cujas told the victim to put her underwear on her head. She said Cujas does this to a lot of people (bulldog or pants down). She said it happened to another victim. She said no other grownups are present when this occurs. She said she and two other victims bathed together.

On February 18, 2014, Simko spoke with the father of two of the victims He told Simko that he was aware of “bulldog,” he knew the term and definition, going back to November 2013, and said he believed it to be a “kid’s thing,” not knowing Cujas started it with the kids.

On the morning of February 27, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. the mother of one of the victim’s contacted police and related her daughter broke down upset and told her Cujas washed her private area with a washcloth and that he “bulldogged” her.

This victim continued to relate she shielded herself with another victim to prevent Cujas from seeing her nude. She said that prior to bedtime, Cujas pulled her pants down three times. She said she told him to stop, and that it occurred in the living room, kitchen, and girl’s room. She said Cujas’ wife was doing laundry and not present.

Another victim described similar events and more. What she believed to be on or around January 3 or January 4, 2014, she was awakened by Cujas in the night. She was sleeping on a couch in the living room of Cujas’ Knox Commons apartment. She was allegedly grabbed and pulled by her arm to the kitchen where she was isolated. She said Cujas then asked her if he could touch her “peach.” She explained that a peach was the term that Cujas used for her private area. She then told Simko that Cujas asked her to touch his private area. She told Simko that she said “no” to these requests but that he then pulled her underwear down. She said that the aforementioned touching did not occur. She said she went back to the couch and Cujas sat beside her and attempted to put his hand in/down the back side of her underwear on her bum. She said she pushed his hand each time. She said he stopped and went back upstairs.

The same victim said that on a different night that she believed to be January 30 to January 31, 2014, two other victims were in the tub together, and Cujas knew they could wash themselves. She said Cujas washed them anyways using a blue washcloth with a little bit of soap. She said Cujas washed her private parts.

Simko asked the victim if she knew what “bulldog” is. She said it was when your pants and underwear get pulled down and you say “bulldog.” She said she learned this from Cujas. She said no other adults were ever present when this occurred, and that Cujas’ wife was sleeping or at work. She said Cujas gave her kisses and hugs for just showing up. She said he kissed her on the lips, cheeks, and stomach through her shirt. On the night of her shower/tub bath, she said three other victims were also bathed.

The case has been transferred to Clarion County Court of Common Pleas.

Cujas is scheduled for a formal arraignment on June 4 before President Judge James G. Arner.

Unable to post $100,000.00 bail, he remains lodged in the Clarion County jail.

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