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Luzerne man admits to sexual assaults

Published August 07. 2012 05:01PM

A Luzerne County man, scheduled for trial next week on various sexual assault counts involving a young girl in which he fathered two children, pleaded guilty in Carbon County court.

Edward Gruenemeier Jr., 35, of West Hazleton, pleaded to one count each of aggravated indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and corruption of minors. He entered his plea before Judge Joseph J. Matika, who deferred sentencing and ordered a presentence investigation (PSI) be prepared by the adult probation office. Gruenemeier must also submit to a sexual offenders evaluation by the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board since the charges fall under the provisions of Megan's Law.

In exchange for the plea the district attorney's office agreed to drop counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, and indecent assault.

State police at Lehighton charged that Gruenemeier had 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.

She told investigators she had sexual intercourse with Gruenemeier on a regular basis.

They moved from North Carolina to Lebanon, then to Penn Terrace Motel in Hazle Township, when Gruenemeier and his wife separated. They later moved to Lansford and resided across the street from Gruenemeier's wife, as he tried to reconcile with her.

The victim said the sexual intercourse continued the entire time. She also told troopers that Gruenemeier had threatened her with harm if she told anyone. He also told her not to put his name on the birth certificates of the two children they had together.

She further claimed he told her if she told anyone about the incidents and he was jailed, his friends would get her for him.

When arrested on the charges in Luzerne County Gruenemeier denied having sex with the girl before 2007. He further related that after moving to the Penn Terrace Motel, he did have a sexual relationship with the girl but it was consentual. He also admitted having fathered two children with her.

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