A serial child molester in Pennsylvania has been given a sentence of up to nearly one thousand years for crimes against 15 children.
Bucks County Judge Diane Gibbons sentenced 36-year-old Walter Meyerle, a tattoo artist, to an extraordinary sentence of 494 to 982 years.
Meyerle was convicted in August last year on 170 counts of abuse.
On Thursday, Judge Gibbons delivered her judgment in stages, naming each victim and describing in detail what Meyerle did to each of them, The Courier Times reports.
There were strong words in the courtroom for the defendant.
“I can’t give him what he deserves,” Judge Gibbons told the crowd in the packed Doylestown courtroom. “He deserves to know what it’s like to be a child and feel fear. To be a child and feel pain and humiliation.”
As Gibbons handed down the sentence, she praised each victim for coming forward, saying, “If anyone ever asks you why you didn’t report the abuse earlier, you walk away.”
Meyerle, of Falls Township, was arrested in May 2011 after police followed up a claim that he had tattooed an underage girl in return for sex. During the subsequent investigation, authorities were able to identify other victims.
According to The Associated Press, Meyerle molested at least 15 children, both girls and boys, some as young as four. He met most of them through their families and came in extended contact by offering babysitting services to parents with drug, alcohol, homeless, or dysfunctional issues.
During victims’ testimony, many described how they would awaken in the night to find Meyerle abusing them. When they resisted, he would then force himself on them.
Meryerle intimidated his victims by threatening to hurt them or their family members. He would tell girls that he would rape their siblings if they didn’t perform sexual favors, and, on some occasions, he tried to force children into having sex with each their family members.
Meyerle also made young girls take sexualized photographs and videos of themselves or other girls and then threatened to show others the images if they didn’t continue having sex with him.
In addition to the photos and videos he made of his victims, Meyerle gathered a vast haul of child pornography from the Internet.
During the nearly four hour sentencing, victims read impact statements in the court.
The PhillyBurb.com writes, “One girl read a poem. All said Meyerle changed their lives.”
Some quotes from some of those statements now follows:
“I felt I was worthless. He stole my innocence and my freedom.”
“So much of my life was lost. My childhood was destroyed.”
“You are the monster that kids dream about. The only difference is that our monster doesn’t go away when we open our eyes.”