A New Holland man is charged with exposing himself to numerous Lancaster County females he didn’t know last summer in several rural jurisdictions.
Benjamin R. Grafius mainly targeted Amish females whom he knew couldn’t call police during the 3-month spree of crimes.
Grafius, 39, is charged with exposing himself to the females, and masturbating, often times stopping his vehicle to engage with the victims or smile at them. At least four of the incidents involved children.
At least two of the crimes happened at roadside market stands tended by Amish females. Another victim was in a horse-drawn buggy.
Pennsylvania State Police charged Grafius with four felony counts of unlawful contact with a minor and 8 misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure. Assistant District Attorney Andrew LeFever approved the charges.
District Judge William Benner arraigned Grafius on Friday. Grafius was released on $50,000 unsecured bail.
Grafius admitted to the conduct, saying, in a police interview, he started a “few years” ago after a relationship ended.
Police got a major break in the case in September when the suspect, who wasn’t yet identified as Grafius, attempted to target an off-duty female state trooper who was running in Strasburg Township.
(Police had a description of the man and the vehicle from the prior incidents.)
Grafius parked his vehicle – which matched the gray sedan involved - and looked at the woman, who noticed he was smiling at her with his shirt unbuttoned. As the off-duty trooper past the vehicle, she noticed the man inside wasn’t wearing pants. When she looked back, the vehicle was gone.
State Trooper Linda Gerow interviewed Grafius last month. He admitted to targeting Amish and Mennonite victims because they were an “easy target,” who wouldn’t call police.
Grafius said he previously lived on Greenfield Road, close by many Amish and Mennonite communities, before moving to New Holland.
Grafius wrote an apology note to the victims. (It wasn't sent to the victims.)
State Trooper Nelson Renno filed charges.
Grafius is presumed innocent.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @BrettHambright