Andre Vancliff touched girls during prison visits, wrote explicit letters

Last updated: February 28. 2014 11:42PM - 3632 Views
By - rdupuis@timesleader.com

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WILKES-BARRE — A convicted killer from Philadelphia pleaded guilty in Luzerne County Court Friday morning to allegations that he fondled two young girls during visits to SCI-Retreat.

Andre Vancliff, 47, admitted to two counts of criminal conspiracy to commit corruption of minors in connection with the case.

His guilty plea came two days after a Luzerne County jury found Rebecca Ann Butler, 42, of Danville, guilty of bringing the young girls to the state prison in western Luzerne County to visit Vancliff.

According to a police affidavit, Butler took the girls, then ages 4 and 7, to the prison to visit Vancliff, an inmate she had befriended who is serving a life sentence for a slaying in Philadelphia.

Between May 2010 to September 2012, investigators said, Vancliff touched the girls inappropriately during visits. He was awaiting trial on two counts each of indecent assault on a person under 13 and conspiracy to commit corruption of minors, as well as one count of corruption of minors.

But three of the counts were withdrawn Friday as part of the guilty plea agreement.

Investigators said they were alerted to inappropriate contact by intercepting two September 2012 letters, which Vancliff allegedly wrote to Butler and the older girl, then 11. Both letters included sexual content, investigators said.

Under questioning days later, Vancliff allegedly told officers he wanted to have sex with Butler and the two girls to see if Butler was “freaky.”

When investigators searched Vancliff’s cell, they said they found a photo of Vancliff touching the girls’ breasts during a visit to the prison.

Police said investigation also revealed that Butler sent Vancliff a photo of one of the girls with her underwear showing beneath her dress, labelled: “xmas 2010 baby putting tree together watcha think?”

On Wednesday, Vough revoked Butler’s $25,000 bail and committed her to the county prison pending sentencing on April 24.

Vancliff’s sentencing is scheduled for June 5 at 1:30 p.m. in front of County Judge Michael T. Vough. The judge ordered him returned to SCI-Retreat “as soon as possible.”

Vancliff will have to register with state police as an offender under the Adam Walsh Act. He also is forbidden from having any contact with his co-defendant Butler, with the victims and their relatives, or with any minors.

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