Schuylkill man gets long state prison term for sexual assault
A Schuylkill County man was sentenced to a long state prison term on Friday in Carbon County court for sexual assault of a young girl.
Curtis Matthew Berger, 27, of Shenandoah, was sentenced by Judge Joseph J. Matika to serve a total of four to 10 years in a state correctional institution on a charge of aggravated indecent assault and nine to 24 months on a charge of indecent assault. The terms run concurrently.
Matika told Berger before imposing the sentence, “You changed and charred these lives forever.” He added, “This will affect their lives going up and having fears and not trusting anyone.” Matika also said, “This is horrible conduct.”
State police at Hazleton charged Berger with sexually assaulting a then 7-year-old girl. Troopers said Berger had sexual contact with the victim at a residence in Banks Township in July 2018. The police report indicated that Berger had a relationship with the mother of the victim at the time of the assault.
The mother of the victim read a letter from the victim in which she described how the incident has changed her life. She wrote, “I have bad dreams, bad nightmares.” She said she has withdrawn from being around people and trusting people. She added, “I’m very afraid he’s going to come after me and hurt me.”
The mother added, “I hope he gets what he deserves.”
Berger told the court, “I’d like to apologize for what I did.”
His court-appointed attorney, Andrew T. Bench, said that his client took full responsibility for what he did from the beginning. He said he pleaded guilty to the charges and spared the victim from having to testify at a trial.
In addition to the prison term, Matika ordered Berger to have no contact with the victim or her family, submit to both a sexual offenders and mental health evaluations, supply a DNA sample, when paroled render 100 hours of community service, pay court costs of about $1,000, pay restitution of $227.23 and have no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18.
The state sexual offenders assessment board determined that Berger was not a violent sexual offender, meaning he does not have to register for life as a sexual offender. The registration period is 25 years.
Berger, who has been in prison since his arrest, was given credit for 308 days already served.