Convicted killer pleads no contest to corruption of minors

June 9th, 2015 8:09 pm

First Posted: 7/21/2014

WILKES-BARRE — Convicted killer Andre Vancliff pleaded no contest to charges of conspiracy to corrupt minors, stemming from visits to his cell of two young girls.

Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough tacked 42 to 84 months onto Vancliff’s life prison sentence, and fined him $15,000 —money the prosecution said he has despite being in prison for a decade on murder charges in Philadelphia.

In February Vancliff had initially admitted to fondling the two girls during visits to the State Correctional Institution at Retreat in Newport Township, but he withdrew his guilty plea in April, claiming he had felt pressured to enter it. Prosecutors then reinstated charges of endangering the welfare of children and indecent assault.

When Vancliff appeared before Vough Monday amid a docket heavy with men in prison outfits and shackles, he offered the no-contest plea to the corruption of minors charge. Assistant District Attorney Jenny Roberts agreed, and said there was little point to more jail time for a man facing life without parole, asking instead that Vough levy a fine.

Roberts noted Vancliff has $9,629 in his prison account, and contended that co-conspirator Rebecca Ann Butler of Danville had given him $16,400 in 2012 in an outside account. A generally silent Vancliff denied there was an outside account.

Vough accepted the no-contest plea and handed down the added jail time and the $15,000 fine, ordering the money in Vancliff’s prison account be seized.

Butler, of Danville, was convicted by a jury of taking the girls to the prison knowing they were going to be allegedly molested by Vancliff. Vough sentenced her last month to 3-1/2 to 10 years in state prison. She has filed paperwork arguing her rights were violated when she was tried separately from Vancliff. She contends proper procedures were not followed in separating the trial.

Prosecutors have said the two girls were as young as 4 and 7 when Butler started taking them to visit Vancliff, visits that ran from May 2010 to September 2012.

Vancliff has also been ordered not to have contact with Butler, the victims and their relatives, or with any minors.