2015-10-24 / Front Page

Charges filed against probation officer

A veteran Potter County probation officer who is accused of stumbling into a Coudersport family’s home after a night of drinking while off-duty is facing multiple charges.

Last week, the Pa. Attorney General’s Office and Coudersport Borough Police formally charged 42- year-old Eric J. Hensel of Coudersport with criminal trespass, which is a second-degree felony, as well as the lesser charges of disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.

Hensel had already been suspended without pay by President Judge Stephen Minor as the case began to work its way through the court system. He is free on his own recognizance.

Court records show that at 1:08 am on Sept. 6, Coudersport Borough Police were called to the Ahearn residence on Dwight Street because a person entered and would not leave. Coudersport Borough Police Sgt. Jim Collins responded and found Hensel walking in the adjacent lawn, “extremely intoxicated.”

One of the residents, Mark Ahearn, told police Hensel entered the home, dropped onto a couch and fell asleep. He claimed he tried to wake the defendant, who became “upset and unruly.”

Ahearn said he told Hensel to stay until police arrived, but the accused pushed him away and departed. The victims later discovered that the window of a back door had been broken, evidently by Hensel as he tried to enter before he tried the unlocked front door.

District Attorney Andy Watson disqualified himself from prosecuting, due to his professional working relationship with Hensel, an adult probation officer with 19 years of service.

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