Skip Navigation

Police in 1999 investigated ex-Lancaster cop Selby for sexual assaults, but former DA did not prosecute

  • By Dan Nephin/LNP | LancasterOnline
A Lancaster City Police vehicle is seen in this photo taken Aug. 6, 2019.

 Ian Sterling for WITF

A Lancaster City Police vehicle is seen in this photo taken Aug. 6, 2019.

Around November 1999, Lancaster city police began investigating sexual assaults of two juvenile females.

The suspect? One of their own: Officer Andrew Scott Selby, who was about 30 years old and a five-year veteran of the department.

“(The investigation) was sent to the district attorney’s office and charges were not filed at that time. He then resigned (in August 2000). And that’s where it kind of ended,” Lancaster police Chief Richard Mendez said Thursday.

Except, it did not end.

On May 17, police charged Selby with raping or sexually assaulting three people who were girls at the time the assaults happened, when Selby was an officer. The charges were filed under seal, in hopes that more people would come forward and perhaps demonstrate a pattern of behavior for Selby, according to authorities.

The current investigation began when one of the three women came forward and spoke with Detective Sgt. Jessica Higgins, according to court documents. Mendez said he was unable to comment on why the woman came to police so many years after the alleged crime occurred.

Five more people came forward after Selby was arrested and said Selby had sexually assaulted them. On May 30, police filed charges on behalf of just two of them because the statute of limitations had passed on possible charges for the others.

Mendez said he did not know why the district attorney’s office at the time decided not to prosecute Selby.

The documents released Thursday, which pertain to the first charges filed on May 17, shed little light on the decades-ago investigation. They reference only that Higgins learned of a November 1999 investigation when she began investigating Selby earlier this year.

The documents do not say when city police who first investigated Selby took their case to the DA’s office. Joseph Madenspacher was the district attorney in 1999, but was winding down his involvement in the office after running for and winning a seat on the Lancaster County Court. He was sworn in as a judge in January 2000.

He said he did not recall the matter coming to the office during his tenure.

“I would never have forgotten that,” Madenspacher said.

Madenspacher was succeeded as DA by Donald Totaro. A reliable phone number for Totaro could not be located Thursday; he previously did not respond to efforts to reach him for another story, including by certified mail.

Michael Landis, who was police chief in 1999, said he could not recall all details, but had been aware that there were multiple investigations into allegations of wrongdoing by Selby during his time as chief.

Even so, he said he was a bit surprised that when Selby was arrested last month, the charges involved sexual assault.

Landis left the department at the end of 1999 to become Lancaster County’s chief detective.

Heather Adams, the current district attorney, did not respond to efforts to reach her Thursday evening.

Selby, 54, who is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing Friday afternoon, is being held at Lancaster County Prison without bail.

One of Selby’s attorneys, Edwin Pfursich, declined comment Thursday.

Unsealed documents
While police did provide some information about Selby’s initial three charges at the time he was arrested, the newly unsealed documents provide more details.

In one case, Selby is charged with raping a 16-year-old girl whose previous rape he was assigned to investigate. According to the charging documents, Selby had been out with the girl and her mother shortly after the initial rape at an all-ages club. The mother left and Selby took the girl to his home to smoke marijuana, and she was in an altered state.

He began kissing and massaging her and directed her to a bed, laid her face down and eventually took off her clothing.

“The victim reported being frozen and in a state of shock and disbelief,” charging documents said.

Selby then raped her, charging documents said.

In the second case, a woman told Higgins in March of this year that when she was 11 or 12, she had sex with Selby numerous times, including at a police substation that existed then in the southeastern part of the city, according to charging documents. The documents said Selby would give her marijuana, cigarettes and, more than once, money.

In the third case, the woman, who was under the age of 13 at the time, said Selby came to her apartment and asked her mother if he could ask her some questions. He then took her to a private area in the complex where he took off his duty belt, tried to pull her pants down and tried to rape her.

“The victim told Selby she was going to scream and Selby ultimately let her go,” charging documents said.

YWCA Lancaster runs a 24-hour sexual assault hotline, 717-392-7273, that connects callers to free, confidential counseling and therapy services for community members impacted by sexual abuse, harassment or assault.

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Up Next
Politics & Policy

Former officers who defended the US Capitol on Jan. 6 visited the Pa. House. Some GOP members jeered