Prosecutor Loses $185K Salary After Law License Suspended Following Sexual Assault Charge

A Pennsylvania prosecutor has lost his salary and benefits after being accused of sexual assault.

The Somerset County salary board barred district attorney Jeffrey Lynn Thomas from collecting his $185,000 salary after being charged with sexual assault in September 2021. The board also determined that his salary will now be collected to acting district attorney Molly Metzgar. Thomas' law license was temporarily suspended in October.

This ruling follows a law that was passed by Gov. Tom Wolf in November that deems the office of district attorney as vacant if the person that currently has the mantle is disbarred. Law license suspensions will cause the incumbent to be suspended from office until their license is restored or their term expires. It is unknown which will come first in Thomas' case.

Thomas is accused of forcing himself into a woman's home and raping her. According to The New York Times, he only left the woman's residence after she promised not to call authorities. He has been formally charged with indecent and simple assault, criminal trespass, and strangulation. A previous rape charge was dropped in September.

Pennsylvania's attorney general Josh Shapiro previously released a statement condemning the actions of Thomas. He then said that it served as a reminder that "no one is above the law." He also praised Thomas's accuser for her bravery.

"That is never an easy thing to do," the statement from Shapiro read, "especially when your abuser is a powerful elected official."

Thomas is currently out on bond. His attorney, Holly Whalen, declined requests for comment.

For more reporting from The Associated Press, see below.

Gavel and Handcuffs
A Pennsylvania prosecutor has lost his $185,000 salary after losing his law license over an accused rape. Pictured are a gavel and a pair of handcuffs. iStock/Getty

The county solicitor says the next move depends on what happens before the state Supreme Court, which has the final say about Pennsylvania law licenses. A Republican, Thomas was elected two years ago.

Earlier this year, the district attorney in Bradford County, Chad Salsman, had planned to continue serving as the county's top prosecutor while his own case was pending for pressuring clients for sex when he was a defense attorney and then coercing them to keep quiet about it.

Salsman turned over trial and courtroom duties to subordinates. But he subsequently pleaded guilty to charges of witness intimidation, promoting prostitution and obstruction of justice and resigned.

In Thomas' case, county officials had said his access to the office and the courthouse were previously restricted. He has maintained his innocence and awaits trial.