A Pennsylvania politician is getting some serious airtime, but he’s probably not happy about all the coverage.
William Spingler, 75, was convicted on Thursday of two counts of indecent assault on a person with a mental disability. The conviction stems from a 2016 arrest after her he fondled his 103-year-old mother-in-law’s breast.
According to the New York Daily News, Spingler was married to the victim’s daughter until she died in 2007. She also lived with him for eight years until she was moved to a nursing home nearby.
In court Thursday, he stated, “It was a stupid, harmless act that destroyed my life…my reputation is destroyed, my business is destroyed. It was just something that I shouldn’t have done.”
The Democrat has been on the Radnor Board of Commissioners since 1970 and served on the county Board of Commissioners for a few years. He retired, as president, from the Radnor board in 2015.
The Delaware County Times reported that the victim, who Spingler has known for 57 years, usually recognized him during his visits. She has dementia, and when she finally forgot him, in early December, he tried touching her breast to see if it might jog her memory. He explained, “I got nothing, no recognition out of her and I made the biggest mistake of my life. I thought for shock value, you know, I could get her to say something, let her know I was there. I touched her breast. It was the dumbest thing I ever did, but I did it to get her attention and let her know that I was there.”
Employees who witnessed the event said that it took place underneath a blanket in the dining hall. He confessed to two incidents but denied that a third ever occurred. The arresting officer also testified in the trial and said that when they appeared at Spingler’s home he already knew what they were coming for. The officer claimed that Spingler confessed, saying, “When I see her, I’ll kiss her on the mouth, I’ll rub her breasts to make her feel good about herself.”
In court, when asked if he got sexual gratification from the incidents, Spingler reportedly became defensive, saying, “Are you kidding me? Are you serious?”
He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 28.