Jeffrey Thomas, 36, was arrested on Wednesday after he allegedly raped and assaulted a woman after entering her home uninvited
A Pennsylvania county district attorney is facing rape and assault charges after he allegedly entered a woman’s home uninvited and attacked her before warning her not to call the police.
The Pennsylvania State Police began their investigation of Somerset County District Attorney Jeffrey Thomas last Tuesday, after the alleged victim came forward.
A police report alleges that Thomas, 36, first messaged the victim on Snapchat on September 18 at around 11pm, telling her he would be at her home in a few minutes. She replied that he was not welcome.
But he entered the Windber home ‘by subterfuge,’ according to the New York Times, carrying several cans of beer in one arm, and handing her one.
She again asked him to leave, and when he did not, she grew agitated and slapped him, police said.
Thomas then allegedly slapped her across the face, causing her nose to bleed, before pulling down her sports bra and choking her.
He then bit her breasts and raped her, police allege.
Thomas later grabbed her by her neck and hair and asked whether she was going to call the police. He only left after she said he would not, authorities said.
On Tuesday, detectives searched the woman’s home and found beer cans along with the clothing she had been wearing at the time of the attack, the Daily Beast reports.
Thomas was arrested shortly after 8pm on Wednesday.
He has been charged with rape, indecent and simple assault, strangulation and criminal trespass.
The Somerset County District Attorney’s Office could not immediately be reached for comment.
Thomas is the Republican District Attorney of Somerset County, a suburb of Pittsburgh
Josh Shapiro, the Pennsylvania attorney general, said in a statement that the charges against Thomas were ‘deeply disturbing,’ as the district attorney ‘is entrusted by the public to uphold the law and serve as a voice for victims.
He added on Wednesday that ‘today is a reminder that no one is above the law.’
Shapiro also commended the alleged victim for being brave enough to come forward, saying: ‘That is never an easy thing to do, especially when your abuser is a powerful elected official.’
Authorities say Thomas had known the alleged victim ‘in a professional capacity’ for years, and he had repeatedly contacted her ‘to initiate a sexual relationship.
He had walked into her house uninvited before, they said, and would ‘routinely drive around her residence.’
The alleged victim and another woman who identified herself in court documents as a ‘current or former sexual or intimate partner’ of Thomas’ have since been granted protection from abuse orders against him, with the alleged victim also receiving one against his wife, Amy Thomas, citing intimidation.
She claimed Amy showed up at a restaurant she was at, took pictures of her vehicle, and has a ‘history of harassment, primarily in 2019.’
The second woman also claimed ‘on numerous occasions, Thomas has come to my home uninvited while intoxicated,’ and ‘on July 9, 2021, he used my spare key outside my prior residence to let himself in.’
He was first elected to office in 2019 with 60 percent of the vote, and has faced several scandals since being in office
Thomas, a Republican, was first elected to office in 2019 with 60 percent of the vote.
He campaigned as a tough-on-crime prosecutor, writing on his campaign website: ‘I am a veteran, lifelong resident and father.
‘I will work to stop the drug epidemic that has destroyed the lives of too many of our citizens.’
It is unclear whether he plans to step down.
But in this case, the Times reports, the Plaintiff, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was set to be represented by the Somerset County District Attorney’s office, which Thomas heads.
His attorney, Ryan Tutera, said all of the county’s magistrate judges would recuse themselves due to their previous work with Thomas’ office, and the state may appoint a judge.
He added that the alleged victim drank beer and smoked marijuana with Thomas in her home before the incident, telling the Times: ‘I think that there’s more to this story than meets the eye.’
Thomas was released from jail on Thursday after posting a $5,000 bail.
He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, though Tutera said that will likely be postponed.
The victim of the alleged rape received a protection from abuse order against him and his wife, Amy, citing intimidation on her part
Thomas has previously faced scandal at his office.
Last September, maintenance staff at the county offices found empty beer cans in Thomas’ office – a violation of the Pittsburgh suburban county’s Drug and Alcohol Free Workplace Policy.
‘We had a celebratory beer, which is something, apparently, is a tradition when I took over,’ he told the Pennsylvania Daily American. ‘The way it was conveyed to me, it was a tradition in the DAs office for a long time.’
Then in October, he was cited for drunk and disorderly conduct and harassment at a pizzeria in October, when he used obscene language and threatened ‘to engage in a physical altercation’ at a gymnastics gym.
He later defended the scene to WJAC by saying he was disappointed by how the facility was handling his daughter’s birthday party.
‘Just because I am an elected official, I’m not supposed to get upset that my five-year-old daughter’s birthday party gets screwed up?’ he asked, rhetorically.
‘That’s ridiculous. Because I’m an elected official I’m supposed to just grin and bear it, because I have a target on my back. I’m allowed to get upset like anyone,’ he said.
Following the incident, the Pennsylvania Tribune-Democrat published an editorial saying: ‘In electing Thomas, it seems what residents of Somerset County got was an immature and reckless individual who is not fit to represent the county in the courtroom or in the community.’
The charges against him were withdrawn in February, after he apologized.