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Jury: Ex-Radnor commissioner guilty of indecent assault

The verdict ended a three-day trial during which Bill Spingler, 75, testified he had known the victim for decades, and had watched his life fall apart since being arrested for touching her.

Ex-Radnor Township commissioner Bill Spingler. (Laurence Kesterson)
Ex-Radnor Township commissioner Bill Spingler. (Laurence Kesterson)Read moreLaurence Kesterson/STAFF

A Delaware County jury on Thursday found former Radnor Township Commissioner Bill Spingler guilty of indecent assault on a person with a mental disability for touching the breast of a 103-year-old woman during visits to her Wayne nursing home last year.

The verdict ended a two-day trial during which Spingler, 75, took the stand at the courthouse in Media and acknowledged his contact with the woman, whom he described as his mother-in-law during an interview this year with the Inquirer and Daily News.

On the witness stand, he said he had known the victim for decades, had lived with her before she was placed in a nursing home in late 2015, and had watched his life fall apart since being arrested, according to the Delaware County Daily Times.

"It was a stupid, harmless act that destroyed my life," Spingler said in court Thursday, the newspaper reported. "I mean, my reputation is destroyed, my business is destroyed. It was just something that I shouldn't have done."

Reached after the verdict, Spingler declined to comment.

Defense attorney Jim Pierce, who in the months leading to the trial had sought a plea deal with the office of District Attorney John J. Whelan, could not be reached for comment.

Spingler was arrested around Christmas by Radnor police. In the interview, Spingler, once a prominent Democrat in the Republican-dominated county, rebuffed any notion that he had committed a criminal act.

Spingler, a real estate agent from Paoli, said he had cared for his mother-in-law since the 2007 death of his first wife — the victim's daughter — and that she had lived in his home until dementia took hold.

Prosecutors brought charges after three nursing home employees reported seeing Spingler grope the woman during visits to Genesis Healthcare Wayne Center on Dec. 15, 17, and 23. The final incident prompted his arrest that day, based on eyewitness accounts that he had touched the woman's breast in a dining hall.

In testimony this week, Spingler said he touched the woman to get her attention because in recent weeks she had stopped being able to recognize him.

"I got nothing, no recognition out of her, and I made the biggest mistake of my life," Spingler said from the stand. "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."

County Court Judge John Capuzzi set sentencing for Sept. 28, and ordered a psychosexual evaluation of Spingler, who remains free on bail.