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Strattanville Residents Accused of Forcing Teen to Smoke Marijuana Due in Court on Tuesday

Sunday, December 1, 2019 @ 12:12 AM

Posted by Joanne Bauer

shutterstock_1175298715-gavelCLARION CO., Pa. (EYT) – Two Strattanville residents are due in court on Tuesday for preliminary hearings on criminal charges following allegations that they forced a teen who was in their care to smoke marijuana.

According to court documents, 47-year-old Christopher Purviance Mortland and 36-year-old Melissa Ann Mortland will stand for preliminary hearings in front of Magisterial District Judge Timothy P. Schill on Tuesday, December 3, at 1:15 p.m.

Both individuals faces the following charges:

– Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Misdemeanor 1

– Corruption of Minors, Misdemeanor 1
– Intentional Possession Controlled Substance By Person Not Registered, Misdemeanor
– Use/Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, Misdemeanor

Christopher Mortland faces the following additional charges:

– Distribute Small Amt Marijuana/Not For Sale, Misdemeanor
– Harassment – Subject Other to Physical Contact, Summary

Melissa Mortland faces the following additional charge:

– Marijuana-Small Amount Personal Use, Misdemeanor

Both individuals are free on $5,000.00 unsecured bail each.

The charges stem from an investigation initiated by a report of child abuse through Clarion County Children and Youth Services (CYS).

Details of the case:

According to a criminal complaint, a referral regarding a report of child abuse was forwarded from Clarion County CYS to the Clarion-based State Police identifying a known 16-year-old female as the victim of possible abuse by Christopher Mortland.

The complaint notes it was determined that the victim shared a residence in Strattanville with Melissa Mortland and Christopher Mortland.

According to the complaint, the referral was due to a conversation between the victim and another individual during which the victim related that C. Mortland “bruises her” and also repeatedly touched her buttocks, which made her uncomfortable. The victim allegedly asked the individual to make a report, but asked that no on come to her house due to fear of C. Mortland finding out about the report.

The complaint indicates that a query of C. Mortland’s criminal history showed an extensive criminal history related to drug and paraphernalia possession and manufacture, firearms violations, robbers, and intimidation of witnesses/victims.

Trooper Bauer, of PSP Clarion, contacted M. Mortland by phone on September 17, related the reason for the call, and asked her to bring the victim to the station for the interview. A tentative interview was then scheduled for Monday, September 23.

According to the complaint, on September 23, when M. Mortland brought the victim to the station for an interview, Trooper Bauer first spoke to M. Mortland and explained the reason for the interview. M. Mortland allegedly related that she was already aware of the allegations because they had a home visit from CYS. She also related that she believed the victim was lying and just trying to get C. Mortland, “out of the house.” She related that C. Mortland actively helps raise and discipline the minors in the household and stated she believes that is why the victim does not like C. Mortland.

The victim was then brought into the interview room with her mother to be questioned.

The complaint notes that the victim first stated that the bruises were not due to C. Mortland. She went on to state she does not regularly get along with C. Mortland and stated that C. Mortland has physically disciplined her in the past, but not in recent years.

According to the complaint, when questioned about allegations that C. Mortland was inappropriately touching her, the victim initially said he was not, but when asked of C. Mortland ever made her feel uncomfortable, she related that “he kept touching her butt,” and stated that M. Mortland “put a stop to it.”

The victim allegedly stated C. Mortland would “tap her butt” when he was behind her and said it made her uncomfortable. When questioned about the nature of the incidents, the victim related it was just touching, and recalled that the last couple of times it occurred was when M. Mortland was at work. She stated she was doing dishes when C. Mortland walked out from his bedroom and smacked her butt before walking away. She went on to state she told M. Mortland about it when she got home, according to the complaint.

The complaint notes that during the interview, the victim’s demeanor and answers to questions asked changed when she was questioned about possible inappropriate contact from C. Mortland.

According to the complaint, she seemed hesitant to answer and provide more details in front of M. Mortland. Trooper Bauer told the victim that if she felt comfortable and her mother gave permission, they could speak alone. M. Mortland gave her permission and left the interview room.

At that time, the victim allegedly related she did feel uncomfortable talking in front of M. Mortland because she believed M. Mortland would relay everything she said to C. Mortland, the complaint states.

According to the complaint, the victim then began to cry and stated that M. Mortland and C. Mortland force her to smoke marijuana. The victim went on to state she doesn’t like smoking, but didn’t want to say anything because she didn’t want to get her family in trouble and feared being labeled a “bad child” and put in placement. She reported that the last time time she was provided marijuana was a month earlier, around August 17, and said that C. Mortland would continuously “bribe” her to smoke marijuana. She stated that if she refused, C. Mortland would place a vape pen to her mouth to get her to “take hits” from it.

The complaint notes that when questioned about whether she ever got high from smoking, the victim stated she had, and said she did not like it. She also allegedly stated M. Mortland and C. Mortland made her smoke before school, causing her to feel tired and have a headache.

After talking about the marijuana use, the victim was asked further about the inappropriate touching.

According to the complaint, the victim stated her C. Mortland touched her a lot, and explained the slapping had been going on for over a year. She also allegedly stated that he had contact with her almost every day and noted that her mother witnessed C. Mortland slapping her buttocks and does not say anything. She said M. Mortland did tell C. Mortland to stop during one incident, and reported he stopped for about a week before beginning again.

The complaint notes the victim related there had been no sexual contact between her and C. Mortland.

Following the interview with the victim, Trooper Bauer re-interviewed M. Mortland and expressed concern that the victim was hesitant to answer questions in front of her.

According to the complaint, when asked if the victim had talked to her about C. Mortland, M. Mortland said no, but noted the victim had talked to her about how C. Mortland made her uncomfortable when he would “jokingly tap her butt,” and stated the victim brought the issue to her attention at the beginning of the summer. M. Mortland said that once she instructed C. Mortland to stop “that was the end of it.” When Trooper Bauer indicated that the victim said the touching has been ongoing, daily, M. Mortland accused the victim of lying and said she is with C. Mortland “24/7.”

When confronted with the victim’s allegations of drug use in the home, the complaint notes M. Mortland’s immediate reaction was “no,” and she also called the victim’s statement “bull****.” However, she did admit that she and C. Mortland smoke marijuana “to relieve pain,” but said the victim was lying about smoking. However, when questioned further, M. Mortland admitted that she gave the victim marijuana through the vape pen after a death in their family, and noted that doing so was “a screw-up,” according to the complaint.

The complaint notes a search warrant was served at the Mortland residence in Strattanville, and a variety of drug paraphernalia including THC oil and prescription medication, several syringes, and a clear plastic bag containing a metal spoon with prescription medication residue on it were located. M. Mortland stated that she uses the syringes to inject her prescription medication intravenously into her hands.

A prescription bottle of Gabapentin, with the label that contained the information about who it belonged to removed, was found beside the night. C. Mortland related it was his. C. Mortland allegedly told police the pills were for M. Mortland and stated “he kept control of them, so she could not abuse them,” according to the complaint.

The complaint notes a black letter case containing a silver digital scale and several individual clear plastic bags was recovered from inside C. Mortland’s nightstand. C. Mortland admitted there was “probably” marijuana residue on the scale, the complaint states.

A green prescription bottle inside C. Mortland’s nightstand was also seized. It was labeled as Bupren and Nalox with M. Mortland’s name on it, but was found to contain various medications, as well as suspected marijuana seeds. Police also recovered 36 individual Ezy Dose clear plastic pill pouches, of which 18 were labeled, and six contained suspected marijuana seeds, and one unlabeled bag contained suspected marijuana seeds, according to the complaint.

Charges were filed against both individuals on October 11 in Magisterial District Judge Duane L. Quinn’s office.

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