Crime

Rapist Blames 10-Year-Old Victim For Initiating Sex

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Merrell "Moe" SandersMerrell "Moe" Sanders

A Pennsylvania man, accused of raping a girl multiple times beginning when she was 10 years old, has argued it was all her fault for initiating the sex.

On Jan. 7, Merrell “Moe” Sanders, 49, pleaded no contest to two counts of rape, The Sharon Herald reported.

He claims the girl initiated sex with him, according to Mercer County Assistant District Attorney Daniel Davis, and has admitted to no wrongdoing, The Sharon Herald reported.

“You have not admitted to anything,” Common Pleas Court Judge Daniel P. Wallace said at the hearing, according to The Sharon Herald.

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Randall T. Hetrick, Sanders’s defense attorney, finds the lack of admission common in this type of case.

“Because the facts are so horrible, it’s the hardest kind of case to admit to,” Hetrick said, reported The Sharon Herald.

Since Sanders has not pled guilty, he may have to serve the full 20 years of his 10- to 20-year sentence. He is only eligible for parole if he admits to wrongdoing.

His plea deal agreement gave him 5 to 10 years on each count of rape, and Judge Wallace chose to have them be served as one sentence, according to The Sharon Herald.

News of Sanders' sentencing reached social media when NBC Connecticut posted a link to the story. Facebook users had plenty to say in response.

“He destroys a 10 yr old child for the rest of their life and he gets up to 20 years?” Michele Ouellette commented. "That's it? That's unacceptable."

“Kids these days are more grown than they were 10-15 years ago,” Nikol Passander commented.  “Even if a 10 YO initiated sex with you, you CAN say no. Better yet, you know you should say no and you better say no!!!!If you say yes, then this is what you will get: your name on a sex offender list and a matching pair of bracelets and a not so fancy living place for the next 20 years. Let's not forget to mention the emotional damage and pain and suffering you've inflicted on that child. Nobody should ever do these kinds of things to children.”

But some, like Shane M. Emerich, want a more violent end to Sanders: “Put him in general so he may get stabbed to death with a toothbrush. Plz.”

Emerich was not alone, as many commenters posted that they hope Sanders is met with violence or death while in prison.

“Burn in hell...hope they get him in jail,” Colleen Hargrove remarked.

According to the victim’s guardian, she continues to struggle with what Sanders did to her for about five years, beginning in 2007, reported The Sharon Herald.

“It’s a struggle for her,” the girl’s guardian said. “She has good days and she has bad days. She has lost out on a normal childhood.”

The guardian added that the girl has little confidence, gets confused and angry, is unable to make friends easily, and is estranged from many family members, but she is resilient.

“She tries not to let this affect her,” the guardian said, adding that she is involved in many activities and considering a more social lifestyle.

“She’s doing remarkably well for what she’s gone through,” the guardian said.

According to The Sharon Herald, Sanders has been deemed a sexually violent predator, which will require him to have increased reporting and counseling under the Sexual Offenders Registration and Notification Act.

At the time of his sentencing, he had spent 650 days in jail.

Sources: The Sharon Herald, NBC Connecticut on Facebook / Photo credit: The Sharon Herald