Mike Wereschagin, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, PittsburghLIVE.com, July 7, 2004
Former Pittsburgh School Board President Ron Suber admitted in court Tuesday that he raped a 7-year-old girl at his Manchester .
Suber, 51, pleaded guilty before Allegheny County Judge Donald Machen to rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, indecent exposure and corruption of minors in connection with the Nov. 3, 2001, assault. Suber’s wife, Donna, was baby-sitting the child at the time.
The admission stunned former colleagues of Suber, who served on the board for 14 years until he lost reelection in 1999. Suber was board president for the final three years of his tenure.
“I would have never thought in a million years that something like this would happen,” said Darlene Harris, a former board member who worked with Suber. “My prayers go out to everyone involved. I’m just heartsick. I’m devastated.”
Another board member, Jean Fink, said she has known Suber for a quarter century.
“I’m floored. I’m just floored,” she said. “I could not envision Ron doing anything wrong like that. I still can’t.”
Neither Suber, who had maintained his innocence, nor Assistant District Attorney Laura Ditka would discuss the case after the hearing. Suber faces a maximum 24 1/2 to 49 years in prison on the charges when he appears Sept. 21 for sentencing.
Despite the guilty plea, Machen permitted Suber to remain free on bond. Machen said Suber’s prominence in the community, family ties and job with Alco Parking make it less likely he might flee. Suber posted 10 percent of $3,000 bond after his arrest.
Defense attorney Chrisher Hoffman said Suber rejected a deal that would have put him behind bars for at least six to 12 years in exchange for a guilty plea.
Hoffman said he hopes the judge will be more lenient than prosecutors.
Suber was linked to the assault through DNA evidence, which provided “one of the strongest matches ever in Allegheny County,” Ditka said during the hearing.