|Five Dead in Pennsylvania Schoolhouse Shooting
Police: Gunman said he molested, dreamed of doing it again
Associated Press | October 2, 2006
By MARK SCOLFORO
QUARRYVILLE, Pa. - A man who laid siege to a one-room Amish schoolhouse, killing five girls, told his wife shortly before opening fire that he had molested young relatives decades ago and had "dreams of molesting again," authorities said Tuesday.
Despite his talk of molestation, though, and the discovery that he had sexual lubricant and flex-ties with him, police have no evidence that any of the victims were sexually abused, state police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said.
"He states in his suicide note that he had dreams about doing what he did 20 years ago again," Miller said.
Miller said police could not confirm Charles Carl Roberts IV's claim about molesting young relatives when Roberts would have been a just a child himself, and he said Roberts' family members knew nothing of molestation in his past.
Roberts left one note for his wife, one for each of his three children and a note and checklist in his truck, Miller said. The note to his wife talked about his anguish over the loss of the couple's newborn daughter, Elise, in 1997, Miller said.
"The note that he left for his wife talks about the good memories together, the tragedy with Elise, it focuses on his life being changed forever ... over the loss of Elise, his hatred toward himself, his hatred towards God as a result of that event, and he alludes to this other reason for this anger but he can't discuss it with her and it happened 20 years ago," Miller said. "Later in the note he talks about having dreams in for the last couple of years about what he did 20 years ago and in those dreams he says he wants to do those things again."
When his wife spoke with Roberts by cell phone from inside the school before the shooting started, he "told her he had molested two minor relatives 20 years prior and that was how she put all of that together," Miller said.
Earlier Tuesday, two more children died of wounds from the shootings, raising the death toll to five girls plus the gunman.
Five children remained hospitalized after Monday's school shooting, the nation's third in less than a week.
Roberts brought to the school three guns, a stun gun, two knives, a pile of wood and a bag with 600 rounds of ammunition, police said. He also had a change of clothing, toilet paper, bolts and hardware, rolls of clear tape and sex lubricant, police said.
There was no evidence that any of the Amish children had been sexually assaulted, but it was possible that Robert planned to, Miller said.
Miller identified the dead girls as follows: Naomi Rose Ebersole, 7; Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12; Marian Fisher, 13; Mary Liz Miller, 8; and her sister Lina Miller, 7.
A 9-year-old girl who had been taken to Christiana Hospital in Delaware died at about 1 a.m. Tuesday, hospital spokesman Spiros Mantzavinos said. A 7-year-old girl died about 4:30 a.m. at Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey, hospital spokeswoman Amy Buehler Stranges said.
"Her parents were with her," Stranges said. "She was taken off life support and she passed away shortly after."
Roberts, a 32-year-old father of three from the nearby town of Bart, was not Amish and did not appear to be targeting the Amish specifically, police said. He seemed bent on killing young girls and apparently figured he could succeed at the lightly guarded schoolhouse, authorities said.
"Roberts' actions were scripted, meaning they were preplanned. He had a mental script that he had already gone through in his mind and plans for what he was going to do until the time that the police arrived," Miller said.
Of the five still in hospitals, a 6-year-old girl was in critical condition and a 13-year-old girl was in serious condition at Penn State Children's Hospital late Monday morning. The names of the children were not being released.
Three girls, ages 8, 10 and 12, were flown to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where they were in critical condition Tuesday after hours of surgery Monday, spokeswoman Peggy Flynn said.
Roberts' co-workers said his mood had darkened in recent weeks, but suddenly brightened over the weekend, Miller said.
"A few days before the shooting a weight was lifted," Miller said Tuesday.
Roberts' own father was close to the Amish. Charles C. Roberts III received state approval in 2004 to use his sport utility vehicle for a paratransit service for the Amish, whose religious beliefs do not allow them to drive.
On his application, more than two dozen people signed documents saying his services would be "a valuable asset to the needs of our community." A number of people in areas of Pennsylvania with large Amish populations operate such paratransit services, mainly to take Amish people to doctors' appointments, shops and other places too far for their buggies to travel, Public Utility Commission spokeswoman Cyndi Page said.
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