The Abuse and Rape Crisis Center (ARCC) is appalled at the accounts of sexual abuse, intimidation, and solicitation of prostitution reported to have been perpetrated by District Attorney Chad Salsman (above). There is no place in our communities for sexual violence in any form-especially at the hands of the elected official who swore an oath to uphold the law and hold those who break it accountable. That the majority of these accounts occurred while he was acting as the victims’ defense attorney is especially horrific. We call for his resignation from office.
Sexual Violence is often about power and control. Whenever the person committing the abuse has a powerful position in government, has money, or the ability to affect ones personal and/or professional life and goals, that person has significant power. “Power and control are asserted through intimidation, using coercion and threats, using economic abuse, among other tactics. These tools are used by abusers to get a victim to do what they want and keep the abuse a secret” said ARCC executive director Amy Miller.
The inherent power imbalance makes reporting sexual abuse very difficult. People in positions of power have the ability to damage a victims’ reputation because of their perceived credibility and status in society”. Allegations against Salsman point to a strategic targeting of victims, those especially vulnerable within the justice system. Salsman’s job was to represent those victims and be their advocate and support in a system that is already intimidating and overwhelming. These charges of sexual abuse are horrifying. Salsman has been found by the 45th Investigating Grand Jury to have abused the power and authority of his position as an attorney.
The charges against Salsman stem from the testimony of women who were vulnerable due to facing criminal charges and/or having been victims of prior assaults, as well as women seeking help with custody action. At this time, there are five separate victims who testified to their experiences. He is charged with twenty-four counts total. Including three counts of sexual assault, a second degree felony; six counts of witness intimidation, a second degree felony; one count of promoting prostitution, a third degree felony; one count of promoting prostitution, a second degree misdemeanor; two counts of obstructing administration of law or other governmental function, a second degree misdemeanor; five counts of indecent assault, a second degree misdemeanor; and six counts of intimidation of a witness or victims, a second degree misdemeanor.
Salsman’s position at the courthouse provides him with the opportunity to identify future potential victims and provides him with information to use coercion and power and control tactics to further victimize them. The role of the District Attorney is to determine which cases to prosecute and then prosecute those cases on behalf of the county. The cases that generally go before the District Attorney are those on behalf of the very type of victim that he has allegedly been assaulting and exploiting for his sexual purposes. Few female victims will feel safe or that their voices are heard if Salsman continues in his role as District Attorney based on these allegations of heinous abuse of power and sexual assault.
ARCC implores Salsman to resign from the District Attorney’s office in Bradford County. Miller says “We admire and extend our support to all of the victims who have come forward to share their experiences. It takes an incredible amount of courage for a survivor to come forward, and the level of attention surrounding a high-profile case such as this makes it even more daunting to speak out.”
ARCC provides confidential no-cost services to victims of interpersonal and sexual violence, as well as educational services to prevent bullying and violence. For assistance and further information, please contact the Abuse and Rape Crisis Center at 570-265-5333 or online at https://www.arccbc.org