East Lansdowne man arrested for sexual assault of 5-year-old

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan and the East Lansdowne Police Department announced the arrest of an East Lansdowne man who is charged with molesting a 5-year-old girl who slept over his house after watching the movie, “Frozen.”

Ronald MacNeal, 65, who resides at the 400 block of Pembroke Avenue, was arraigned Sat., Aug. 15 and remanded to the Delaware County Prison after failing to post 10 percent of the $150,000 bail.

Ronald MacNeal

Ronald MacNeal

He is charged with the rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, aggravated indecent assault of a child, all felonies of the first degree, and sexual assault and indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age, both felonies of the second degree. He is also charged with indecent exposure and endangering the welfare of children.

The investigation that led to MacNeal’s arrest began on Aug. 13, when the East Lansdowne Police were dispatched to the 800 block of Pembroke Avenue for a report of child assault. Upon arrival, Sgt. James Cadden spoke with the mother of the victim, who stated that her 5-year-old daughter had been uncontrollably urinating on herself for the past several days, and that she had been sexually assaulted.

The mother told authorities that on Friday, Aug 7, she left her daughter overnight in the care of her neighbor, Ronald MacNeal at his residence, and retrieved her daughter the following day. Since picking up her daughter from MacNeal’s residence, her 5-year-old daughter began exhibiting uncharacteristic behavior including urinating on herself numerous times. When asked what was wrong, her daughter lowered her head and said “Ron put his fingers in my privates.” After authorities learned of the alleged abuse, they had the victim immediately transported to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for evaluation.

Authorities then arranged for Jodi Kaplan, director of the Delaware County Children’s Advocacy Center and child forensic interviewer, to speak with the victim concerning the alleged abuse. During the interview, the victim told investigators on the night of the assault she was sleeping in MacNeal’s bed after having eaten popcorn and watching the animated movie “Frozen.” She was awakened by MacNeal inserting his fingers in her “private part.” She also described him performing oral sex on her and penetrating her anally with his fingers. She told investigators that he inserted his penis into her mouth.

She told authorities the night of the assault she was wearing a “Frozen” nightgown with both princesses on it and “Frozen” panties with images of snowflakes on them.

After the assault, she told authorities that MacNeal removed and washed her underwear. She described kicking MacNeal and wanting him dead. When investigators asked if he said anything to her, the victim stated he told her “shut up bitch” and threatened to punch her in the face if she told anyone of the assault. Following the interview, and collection of evidence by East Lansdowne Police, Ronald MacNeal was taken into custody and remanded to the Delaware County Prison after failing to post bail.

 

District Attorney Jack Whelan commended investigators with Lansdowne Police and the Criminal Investigation Division Child, the Special Victims Unit and the Delaware County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) for their collaborative work conducting the investigation into the sex assault of the child.

“The sexual exploitation of children is the most heinous crime because of the long-term physical and emotional damage it causes to the innocent,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan. “I would like to commend Sgt. James Cadden and Det. Mark Bucci for their swift action to secure forensic evidence, and

the investigators with the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) for their immediate response in conducting the forensic interview of the 5-year-old victim, which will prove helpful in the prosecution of this case. I would also like to commend Deputy District Attorney Michael Galantino of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Unit, who is supervising the prosecution of the case.”

To report information relating to this case or information relating to other individuals who may have been victimized by MacNeal, residents are urged to contact Sgt. James Cadden of the East Lansdowne Police Department at 610-259-2308 or County Det. Mark D. Bucci of the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) at 610-891-4700.

The preliminary hearing for Ronald MacNeal is scheduled on Aug. 25 in Yeadon District Court.

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