Two sex offenders, who previously pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges, were sentenced Monday in Carbon County court to prison terms - one to a state facility and the other to a county term.
Judge Joseph J. Matika imposed the terms.
Edward Prues Gruenemeier Jr., 37, of West Hazleton, was sentenced to serve a total of 24 to 60 months in a state prison on charges of aggravated indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and corruption of a minor.
Gruenemeier admitted to having a sexual relationship with a young girl over an extended period of time which resulted in the birth of two children.
State police at Lehighton had charged Gruenemeier with having sexual relations with the girl starting when she was 13 and continuing until she was 18. During the sexual encounters the girl became pregnant. She gave birth to Gruenemeier's son when she was 17, and a daughter when she was 18.
The assaults began in North Carolina, where she lived with Gruenemeier and his wife, who was the sister of her father. The father, a truck driver, got primary custody of the girl but had to give guardianship to his sister because of his being on the road most of the time.
The couple and the girl moved to Lebanon, then to Penn Terrace Motel in Hazle Township. Gruenemeier and his wife separated but the girl remained with him. They later moved to Lansford and resided across the street from his wife, who he tried to reconcile with.
The girl told investigators that the sexual intercourse continued the entire time from North Carolina to Pennsylvania.
Yesterday the girl told Matika Gruenemeier controlled her life. She said she had no childhood because of him. She said she felt trapped in the relationship and tried to get away but could not.
She said, "I didn't have a father, I had no one."
Matika noted he received numerous letters from relatives and friends of Gruenemeier praising him as a decent person who always helped others.
Gruenemeier said he worked as a EMS technician with an ambulance firm and volunteered with local responders. He said he wanted to care for and pay the support of the two "lovely children" he had with the victim.
Matika rejected a plea from defense Attorney Joseph Perilli, public defender, for a mitigated range sentence.
Matika said the girl came into Gruenemeier's care without a father and that the defendant was to serve as a father figure. Instead, Matika said, Gruenemeier "violated that trust as a father in exchange for sex." He added, "Instead of a father figure you were a predator."
In addition to the jail term Matika ordered Gruenemeier to submit to a sexual offenders evaluation, get a mental health evaluation, render 100 hours of community service when released on parole, supply a DNA sample, follow all requirements of Megan's Law which includes he must register as a sexual offender for 10 years, and have no contact with the victim.
He was given credit for 558 days spent in jail to date on the charges.
John Provisiero, 19, of Lansford, was sentenced to serve a total of 11 and a half to 23 months in the county prison on two counts of statutory sexual assault. On a charge of criminal mischief he was placed on probation for a year, consecutive to the prison term.
Provisiero admitted to having sexual relations with two then 14-year-old girls at a location in Lansford.
Borough police charged that on April 1 at a residence along E. Kline Avenue, he had sexual intercourse with one girl. The second case involved a different 14-year-old girl and occurred in the same residence.
In each incident Provisiero claimed the sex was consentual, however, under state law it was not.
Defense Attorney Perilli said his client has mental health issues which may have contributed to his conduct in the matters.
Provisiero attempted to blame his conduct on the people he was associated with, but Matika rejected that claim stating, "You can't blame others, you were the adult."
In addition to the jail term and probation period, Matika ordered Provisiero must obtain a sexual offenders evaluation, have no contact with either victim, get both a mental health and drug and alcohol evaluations and follow any recommendations for treatment, zero tolerance imposed on D&A use, provide 50 hours of community service when released on parole, and supply a DNA sample.
On the mischief count he was ordered to make total restitution of $2,822.72 and render an additional 50 hours of community service.
He was given credit for a total of 175 days spent in jail on the charges.
Each defendant must also pay court costs, which average about $1,000, and pay a $50 per month supervision fee while on parole or probation.