A substance-abuse counselor was convicted this week of having a woman perform phony “breathing exercises” and threatening to have the woman jailed if she didn’t comply.
Richard Christopher Corley, 49, was counselor for a woman on probation earlier this year, when he had her perform the exercises while he watched.
On Tuesday, a Lancaster County jury convicted Corley of a misdemeanor count of criminal coercion, following a two-day trial.
The jury deliberated about two hours before returning its verdict about 12:30 p.m., according to Assistant District Attorney Christopher Sarno, who won the conviction.
County Judge Donald Totaro, who presided over the trial, will order sentence after a background check is completed in about three months.
Corley told the 30-year-old woman the “breathing exercises” were part of a new study being conducted by Lancaster General Hospital. He told the woman the breathing would help release toxins from her body. She was told she could earn $5,000 for participating.
Police determined there was no such study being done.
Corley asked the woman to perform the exercises, via online streaming video during night-time hours, demanding she go places with WiFi, so he could watch.
She eventually reported the requests to her probation officer, who then contacted District Attorney Craig Stedman’s office.
Lancaster County Detective Larry Martin filed charges.
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