KENNETT - A young woman’s tale of alleged repeated sexual assaults by a member of a prominen... Man faces drug, weapons ch

Submitted by admin on Sat, 2006-01-14 12:02. ::

KENNETT - A young woman’s tale of alleged repeated sexual assaults by a member of a prominent southern Chester County mushroom-growing family has led state police to file drug and weapons-possession charges against the man.

Richard Anthony Basciani, 49, of the 1100 block of Kaolin Road, was arrested Wednesday after a police search uncovered marijuana, crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia and two unlicensed guns in his home and car, reports said.

The search came after Basciani drove home from meeting a 19-year-old woman in a West Chester bar -- a meeting at which he intended to surreptitiously record their conversation, reports said he told police.

Basciani -- whose family owns Basciani Foods, a mushroom-growing and distributing business with roots in the southern Chester County community dating back to the 1920s -- was ordered held on $500,000 bail by Magisterial District Judge Daniel Maisano following the arrest at his Kennett home.

He is charged with a single count of firearms not to be carried without a license, a third-degree felony; interception, disclosure or use of wire, electronic or oral communication, another third-degree felony; and five counts of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, reports said.

Pennsylvania State Police Trooper James F. Ciliberto, a member of the Avondale barracks Criminal Investigation Unit, declined to discuss when or if further charges would be filed involving the sexual assaults the woman claimed to have endured, or other claims she made.

Attorney Robert J. Donatoni, of West Chester, who is representing Basciani with attorney Thomas Schindler, said Thursday evening that the pair had only been on the case for 24 hours and that they were exploring Basciani’s defense.

"We’re taking it, at this point, a day at a time and issue by issue," Donatoni said, adding that he was aware of the allegations of sexual assault made against his client, and that he is prepared to defend his client against further charges.

According to a search warrant filed in the case, police began talking with the young woman -- whose name was blacked out of the warrant -- in late December.

She told them that Basciani had begun sexually assaulting her in the spring of 2003, when she was 16 years old. The alleged assaults continued until this past Christmas Eve.

From 2003, the rapes allegedly continued on a weekly basis at Basciani’s house until June of 2004, when the alleged victim went away to college. The woman said she never willingly had sex with Basciani.

"Was there ever a time that you had sex with him that you wanted him to have sex with you?" Ciliberto said he asked the girl during an interview on Dec. 27.

Basciani’s residence is described in reports as a Cape Cod-style house with an exterior of white siding and gray stone. A detached six-car garage is adjacent to the residence.

The alleged victim told police the house has an extensive surveillance system with cameras placed in every room, including bathrooms and bedrooms. She said the cameras are always recording so it’s likely there is footage of Basciani having sex with her.

"It was on tape ’cause everything is on tape," the alleged victim said in one interview with police, "but he does go back and re-look at the tapes."

The woman was allegedly raped again Dec. 24, 2005, when she was driven to Basciani’s residence by a man, also not identified in reports, whom she believes sells oxycontin pills for Basciani. Upon their arrival, the alleged victim, the man and a woman, identified as "Amy," smoked marijuana while Basciani smoked crack, according to the alleged victim.

The woman claimed Basciani stores cocaine, which she said he makes himself, in the safe room, as well as quantities of marijuana, Oxycontin, Vicodin, Percocet, Valium, amphetamines, Viagra and muscle relaxers. He also keeps 40 to 50 guns, a bazooka and a machine gun in the room, she said.

While she was allegedly being raped, the man who had driven her to the residence went to Kennett Square and sold an Oxycontin pill for Basciani, according to the woman. When he returned, the man gave Basciani $20 from the sale of the pill and Basciani gave him two more pills to sell, she said.

A police investigation revealed that Basciani has in fact purchased 40 firearms over the years. But there was no mention in Basciani’s arrest affidavit of any weapons found in the safe room, or of the safe room’s existence.

According to reports, on Tuesday afternoon, troopers serving the search warrant found a chunk of crack cocaine in Basciani’s leather jacket, a crack pipe, 48 grams of marijuana and $8,150 in Basciani’s house. Police said a search of Basciani’s Ford Expedition netted two guns, a semi-automatic 9 mm pistol and a .22-caliber revolver, seven chunks of crack and four crack pipes.

Police also charged Basciani with a third-degree felony in the interception of wire, electronic or oral communication after he allegedly met a 19-year-old woman at Kildare’s Pub in West Chester Tuesday and recorded their conversation without her knowledge. Basciani told police he went to the bar with the intention of recording the woman, according to reports.

Basciani is the grandson of the founder of Basciani Foods Inc., a fourth-generation mushroom company that ships mushrooms to grocery store chains around the country.

In an October 1996 article for Delaware Today Magazine titled "Family Values," Michael Basciani, Richard’s brother, said most mushroom farms don’t have the longevity of their company, which was founded around 1920.

Schindler, one of the attorneys representing Richard Basciani, said his client had not been an officer with the corporation for more than a year, although he still holds a small interest in the family business and worked there on occasion.

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