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Suspect in sex assaults kills himself as police show up to arrest him

1-24-2008 Pennsylvania:

A man who was about to be arrested in the second of three pending sex assault cases shot and killed himself yesterday in front of police on the grounds of the former Dixmont State Hospital in Kilbuck.

Steven M. Sutfin, 58, formerly of Emsworth, committed suicide in front of officers who were attempting to serve a warrant charging him with two counts each of indecent assault and corruption of minors and one count each of endangering the welfare of children and unlawful contact with a minor.

The warrant, obtained Tuesday by Allegheny County police, stemmed from an investigation of assaults on a young girl, said Detective Daniel Mayer of the county sex assault and child abuse unit.

That case was one of three pending investigations involving Mr. Sutfin, who was sentenced to five years on probation after pleading guilty in 1999 to indecent assault and corruption of minors. That case also involved a young girl, police said.

County police last month also charged him with two counts each of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault and indecent assault and one count of endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors. He was free on $75,000 bond in that case.

Detectives had planned to question a third woman today about allegations that she, too, had been assaulted years ago by Mr. Sutfin, Detective Mayer said.

Police planned to serve the warrant and arrest Mr. Sutfin yesterday, but did not find him or the van he'd been driving at an apartment he'd recently rented in Avalon, the detective said.

A short time later, a foreman from the public works department in neighboring Ben Avon who'd heard a police radio bulletin about Mr. Sutfin spotted his van.

The foreman alerted police, prompting officers from Avalon and Ohio Township to find and follow the van onto the Dixmont property, state police said.

When the officers asked Mr. Sutfin to get out of the van, he pulled out the gun and shot himself, according to state police, who are investigating his death.

Mr. Sutfin had been a carpenter and construction worker, Detective Mayer said. ..more.. by Cindi Lash can be reached at or 412-263-1973.

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