An elderly man was sentenced to a county prison term on Tuesday afternoon in Carbon County court after previously pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a young female member of his family.
Michael Steven Taschler, 81, of Covered Bridge Rd., Kunkletown, was sentenced by Judge Steven R. Serfass to serve three to one day less 24 months in the county prison. The prison term will be followed by two years of probation.
Serfass noted the prison term was part of a plea bargain between the Commonwealth and the defendant.
Taschler was sentenced to the prison term on one count each of endangering the welfare of a child and indecent assault. He originally faced six counts of aggravated indecent assault, four counts of indecent assault, two counts each of criminal conspiracy, indecent assault, criminal conspiracy-aggravated indecent assault, and endangering the welfare of a child.
Taschler's daughter, Debbie Lynn Green, 41, of Avenue A, Palmerton, was also charged in connection with the incident. Yesterday she was placed in a special probation program for first time offenders.
Defense Attorney Stephen P. Vlossak Sr. asked the court to let Taschler serve the prison term on consecutive weekends. Vlossak said Taschler is the sole provider for his wife, 82, who has health problems and depends on him to get her to doctor appointments and care for her at their home. Vlossak said Taschler tried to get family members to help but could not.
Serfass rejected the request stating that a weekend sentence would "depreciate the seriousness of the crimes involved."
Taschler expressed remorse for what happened. He told the court, "I'm sorry everything happened this way. I hope she forgives me some day."
Serfass called the case, "very troubling" noting the abuse began when the victim was nine and continued over many years.
The case came to light when the victim, now 17, reported the sexual contact with Taschler to the county Office of Children & Youth. That office notified state police at Lehighton.
She said the sexual assaults began when she was nine years old and in the third grade.
At a preliminary hearing the girl said she told her mother about what Taschler was doing to her. She said her mother told her not to tell anyone.
She told investigating troopers that the assaults usually occurred at Taschler's residence.
The incidents occurred over a period of January 2004 to December 2007.
Serfass previously ruled that Taschler was a violent sexual predator as defined under Megan's Law and must register for life with the state police. He must also follow certain provisions of the law concerning his registration.
In addition to the jail term Serfass ordered Taschler to supply a DNA sample and pay the $250 fee, get a mental health evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, submit to a sexual offenders evaluation and follow all recommendations, and have no unsupervised contact with a minors.
He will begin the jail term at 9 a.m. on Dec. 7.
Debbie Lynn Green, 41, Taschler's daughter, was also charged in connection with the case. She was placed in the county's Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) probation program Tuesday morning by Serfass.
She was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and terroristic threats.
Police charged that the victim told Green of the assaults. Green, police said, told the girl not to tell anyone and threatened if she did.
Serfass was told that the agreement to place Green in the ARD program was approved by the victim and the county's office of Children & Youth.
Serfass placed her for two years and ordered she be assessed $500 for the costs of the program, get both mental health and drug and alcohol evaluations, and render 100 hours of community service.
Both Taschler and Green must also pay additional count costs and a $50 per month supervision fee - Taschler while on parole and probation; and Green while in the program.