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Monroe man sentenced to prison for assault

Published March 27. 2010 09:00AM

A Monroe County man, convicted by a Carbon County jury of seven counts of sexual assault on a teenage girl in 2007, was sentenced to a state prison term on Friday afternoon.

Merrick Douglas, 32, of Tobyhanna, was sentenced by President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II to serve six to 12 years on charges of criminal attempt-aggravated indecent assault, criminal attempt-sexual assault, criminal attempt-aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, indecent assault and rape by forcible compulsion.

Douglas was convicted on Dec. 9, 2009, following a two-day trial. He was charged by state police at Fern Ridge with sexually assaulting a then 17-year-old girl at a residence in Albrightsville, Penn Forest Township, on July 10, 2007. The sexual attack occurred in the basement area of the home.

Douglas did not testify at the trial.

Before the sentencing, Nanovic conducted a hearing to determined if Douglas was a violent sexual predator as defined under the provisions of Megan's Law.

Following testimony by Dr. Mary Muscari, of the state Sexual Offenders Board and after hearing arguments by both sides, Nanovic ruled Douglas did not fit the criteria of a violent sexual predator and therefore would not have to register for life.

However, because of the charges he was convicted of he will have to register with the state police for the next 10 years as a sexual offender and report periodically where he lives, works and travels.

Douglas maintains his innocence and according to defense attorney Mark Schaffer, will appeal the verdict.

The girl, now 21, was not present in court as she has since moved out of the country. However, she sent a letter to the court stating how the incident had an affect on her life and that she is now more aware of the people around her.

Assistant District Attorney Jean A. Engler said the Commonwealth stands by the verdict of the jury and asked to court to follow the recommendation of the adult probation office as to sentencing.

Engler called several witnesses during the trial including arresting troopers. The defense counsel called only Douglas' mother who said at the time the attack occurred her son was at her place of employment in Stroudsburg.

Nanovic also ordered that Douglas supply a DNA sample and pay the $250 fee, follow all requirements of Megan's Law, undergo both drug and alcohol and mental health evaluations and follow any recommendations for treatment and have no contact with the victim.

Douglas, who is presently in custody failing to post $10,000 straight bail, was given credit for 110 days spent in jail to date on the charges. On the motion of Engler, Nanovic revoked his bail.

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