Former Pennsylvania prosecutor sentenced in sex case

TOWANDA, Pa. — A Pennsylvania county prosecutor who pleaded guilty to pressuring clients for sex when he was a defense attorney was sentenced Friday to 18 months to 5 years in prison.

A judge in Bradford County imposed the sentence on former District Attorney Chad M. Salsman, who had emphatically denied the allegations before pleading guilty in May to witness intimidation, promoting prostitution and obstruction of justice.

A message seeking comment was left for his defense attorney.

Salsman, 44, a resident of Wyalusing, was charged in February with sexually assaulting women who were his clients in criminal and child custody cases. Sexual assault charges and other counts were dropped as part of a guilty plea agreement.

A Republican, he was elected district attorney in November 2019.

His accusers told a grand jury he groped them, sought nude photos and pressured or forced them into sexual acts, sometimes on his office desk.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat whose office charged and prosecuted Salsman, said Salsman “coerced vulnerable Pennsylvanians because he thought his victims would be easy to silence and less likely to be believed if they ever came forward.”

Shapiro said Salsman “has been taken out of his position of authority where he can no longer hurt women.”

After Salsman was first charged, he emailed a statement from his Bradford County government address calling the charges “vicious lies” and pledging to vigorously defend himself against what he called false allegations.

A judge appointed Albert Ondrey to serve as Bradford’s district attorney in May.

Salsman was also sentenced to six years of supervision upon his release.