Thomas Fornwald, 67, Could Spend the Rest of His Life in Prison
A 67-year-old Lykens man could spend the remainder of his life behind bars after being found guilty this week of child sex offenses, according to Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office. These included indecent assault of minors under 13, corruption of minors and unlawful contact with minors.
Early Life and Education
Reily Fornwald was born 15 April 1842 in North Heidelberg Township of Berks County. As an engine operator on railroad trains he moved to Reading Pennsylvania before acquiring and living in his own large home on Upper Main Street of Robesonia Pennsylvania until 1905.
The woman told police she was 13 when Fornwald picked her up in his hallway at home and sexually assaulted her, pinning her arms behind her back, groping and sexually assaulting her before reporting it to authorities. She informed both her mother and police of this event.
Dauphin County jury found Thomas Fornwald, then aged 67 years, guilty of five sexual offenses against children in 2023. These included indecent assault on minors as well as corruption of minors and unlawful contact. The Commonwealth will seek mandatory life sentences from this conviction.
Thomas Fornwald worked as a prosecutor in Philadelphia during his career. He handled cases including child abuse and homicide prosecutions as well as serving as law professor and adjunct faculty member.
One of Fornwald’s most noteworthy cases involved the murder of Gary Hodges in Philadelphia as a result of a dispute regarding a stolen bicycle that Hodges reported being taken by one of his friends; according to reports, Hodges informed Fornwald that his friend took it and owed $20 as compensation.
On December 11th, a 13-year-old girl visited Fornwald at his residence in Lykens, Pennsylvania and reported him for making sexual comments and physically assaulting her multiple times, touching inappropriately, and once even lifting up her shirt while sleeping. As a result of these incidents, the girl became fearful of Fornwald and stopped visiting that home altogether.
Achievement and Honors
Fornwald was active in many civic and veterans organizations throughout his professional career. In addition to membership with Williamson Lodge No 307 of the Free and Accepted Masons located in Womelsdorf, Berks County; Fornwald was also part of Union Veteran Legion No 43 located in Robesonia, Pennsylvania.
On April 26, 2023, a Dauphin County jury found Lykens resident Thomas Fornwald guilty of three indecent assault counts on children under 13 years of age, one count of indecent assault against those 16 or less years old and three corruption of minors counts as well as unlawful contact with a minor. Senior Deputy District Attorney Katie L. Adam thanked victims for standing strong throughout this long court process to seek justice on their own behalf and advocate for themselves through legal channels.
Fornwald was active in various civic and veterans organizations as well as his church community where he served as an elder. Additionally, he held board positions within Reading School District and Berks County Historical Society before retiring as president.
In May 1925, Fornwald suffered a fatal fall at home that fractured his thigh bone, ultimately leading to his death at Homeopathic Hospital of Reading on 1 June. His remains were then interred at Heidelberg Cemetery of Robesonia.
In March 2023, a Dauphin County jury found Fornwald guilty on two charges of indecent assault of a minor and three charges of corrupt contact with minors, after a three-day trial that was prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney Katie L. Adam.
Thomas Fornwald boasts a net worth estimated at approximately $500 thousand. He is married to Tiffani A Fornwald and his children include Autumn D Deeter, Cameron Fornwald and Darrien Fornwald. Additionally he is associated with Doren D Heck, Jason R Sherrick and Kristopher L Heck – making up part of his network.
In April 2023, he was found guilty in Dauphin County on five felony charges related to sexual crimes committed against two teenage girls. Lykens resident Michael Browne (67) was charged with indecent assault of a minor, corruption of minors and unlawful contact with minors.