Charges Against Mizak Withdrawn By DA’s Office--3/1/2018

The Bradford County District Attorney’s Office recently withdrew all charges against a former Wyalusing man. Joseph John Mizak, 39, was charged by the Pennsylvania State Police with Indecent Assault and Corruption of Minors, both misdemeanors of the first degree.

Trooper Miranda Musick filed the charges against Mizak for an alleged act that allegedly occurred between December 9, 2016 and December 23, 2016. Mizak was accused of having indecent contact with a female who was less than thirteen years of age. Mizak was interviewed by the state police on February 24, 2017, and denied ever touching the alleged victim.

In May of 2017, Bradford County Children and Youth Services filed an "indicated" report against Mizak, concluding that he had committed child abuse. Mizak appealed the finding, and a hearing was conducted on September 13, 2017, before the Honorable Nicole F. Bednarek, an Administrative Law Judge with the Department of Human Services with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Judge Bednarek reversed the finding that Mizak had committed any child abuse. In her decision, Judge Bednarek found the testimony of the alleged victim to be "vague" and contradictory to another witness. The judge stated, "Based on the foregoing, the victim’s credibility does not rise to the level necessary for CYS to meet its burden… CYS has not met its burden of proof to demonstrate substantial evidence that child sexual abuse occurred."

Despite this finding, the state police filed criminal charges against Mizak on January 5, 2018, for the exact same act that CYS has accused Mizak of committing. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for February 20, 2018, in front of the Honorable Fred Wheaton, but prior to the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Carrie Wharton withdrew all of the criminal charges. Mizak was represented by local attorney, Chad M. Salsman, Esq. who also represented Mizak in the CYS appeal.

Salsman stated, "Mr. Mizak has been through hell this past year because of these false accusations. He has maintained his innocence from the very beginning. Mr. Mizak is proof that one man’s life can be severely injured by a simple accusation, but that justice can still prevail. The presumption of innocence is a bedrock principle of our criminal justice system and is too often overlooked in today’s society."

Mizak had faced up to ten years in a state prison if he had been convicted.