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Palmerton man's indecent assault charges continued

Published April 14. 2011 05:00PM

A Palmerton man accused of allegedly touching a family member will be back in court next month.

Franklin R. Berger, 38, of 1045 Mauch Chunk Road, had his preliminary hearing before District Judge Bruce Appleton of Palmerton on Wednesday continued.

Berger, who is charged with two counts of indecent assault and one count of corruption of minors, will go before Appleton at 10 a.m. May 19.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Palmerton Borough Police Chief Randy Smith:

On Oct. 15, 2010, Smith received a report from Carbon County Children & Youth reporting a sexual abuse/exploitation of a female when she was between the ages of 11-13 years ago, according to the affidavit.

Carbon County Children & Youth received this information from a case worker from Northampton County Children & Youth, the affidavit says.

Smith spoke with the case worker from Northampton County Children & Youth, and he advised when the location of the incident was learned, he immediately transferred the report to Carbon County Children & Youth.

The Northampton County Children & Youth report indicates that the victim reported that when she was between the ages of 11-13, her uncle, Berger, put his hand under her clothing one time. She could not remember the exact date. The victim also reported that Berger fondled her chest and her private area.

On Oct. 19, Smith interviewed the victim, who reported that the incident occurred at 761 Edgemont Avenue. The victim reported that she was lying on the couch with her face toward the back of the coach. She claims that Berger must have thought she was sleeping and came up from behind her and put his hand down the back of her pants, put his hand up her shirt and fondled her chest, and put his hand down the front of her pants and rubbed her private area.

The victim reported this continued for about 10 minutes, and stopped when Berger heard a noise. The victim also reported that her uncle would ask her questions about her sexual activity, and would give her details about his sex life with her aunt.

Smith asked the victim why she waited so long to report this incident, and the victim claims that she always remembered it, and carried it with her. She recently has been going to counseling, and needed to do a life line, and she revealed this incident to the counselor, who advised her that by law, he had to report this.

On Nov. 18, 2010, Smith interviewed Berger, and advised him of his Miranda Warning, which he stated he understood and signed the waiver form and agreed to answer questions.

Berger denied the allegations made by the victim against him, and denied ever touching her butt and chest and private area.

Berger also denied asking the victim about her sexual activity, or telling her about his sex life with his wife.

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