Northumberland County DA says defendant in sexual extortion case made plea deal

Apr. 25—ELYSBURG — The Northumberland County District Attorney's Office said a plea agreement is in place for a 23-year-old Mansfield man who was released on Rule 600 after facing charges of felony sexual extortion stemming from an alleged incident in 2023.

Ralpho Township police say Zane Bryant Walentukonis, of Charleston Road, was threatening to send explicit videos to a teen and charged him in June 2023.

Walentukonis was sent to Northumberland County Jail in lieu of $125,000 bail.

On Monday, Walentukonis was granted the Rule 600 motion in Northumberland County Court, according to court documents.

Rule 600 is the Pennsylvania Criminal Code statute governing speedy trials. According to Rule 600, the commonwealth must bring a criminal defendant to trial within 365 days of when charges are filed. If the commonwealth does not do that and fails to exercise "due diligence," the charges against the defendant can be dismissed with prejudice against the commonwealth. If a criminal defendant is held in pretrial incarceration for a period exceeding 180 days, they are entitled to immediate release on nominal bail of $1.

The district attorney's office said the commonwealth would have prevailed had they argued the case because of several continuances made by the defense.

District Attorney Mike O'Donnell said Walentukonis was scheduled for trial several times.

O'Donnell said once a plea agreement was in place, the district attorney's office agreed to let him out of jail because Walentukonis spent more than the time required for agreement.

"The defendant's request for nominal bail was not opposed by the district attorney's office," he said. "All agreements were made with consent of all parties involved."

O'Donnell did not say what plea agreement was made. No court date has been scheduled for a plea.

Police say Walentukonis met a 15-year-old female through the girl's mother, who was a teacher while Walentukonis was in school.

The mother and Walentukonis stayed in contact after the man left school, police said.

In 2019, the man reached out to the girl and said he was alone around the holidays so the woman invited him to her home in Elysburg for Thanksgiving, police said.

While at the home, the man allegedly began to make advances toward the teen and convinced the teen to send inappropriate pictures to him, officers said.

The man also convinced the woman to send explicit pictures of herself which he used to attempt to extort money from the woman, threatening to show them to the teen, police said.