Judge sentences Terry in double sexual assault case
LEWISTOWN – A man who pleaded no contest to lesser charges in two rape cases on the day one of those cases was supposed to go to trial in November 2012 was sentenced on Wednesday to serve six to 12 years in state prison.
Under a plea agreement reached between Mifflin County District Attorney Dave Molek and defense attorney Michael Gingerich, Michael Terry, 42, pleaded no contest to two counts of aggravated indecent assault and two counts of statutory sexual assault.
The two women assaulted by Terry were 10 and 14 years old when the abuse began, court documents indicate.
On the day the agreement was reached, Molek said a plea deal was offered to spare the victims from having to testify again. Both victims testified at a preliminary hearing in December 2011.
On Wednesday, President Judge Timothy S. Searer informed Terry that the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board deemed him a “sexually violent predator.” As such, he is required to register under Megan’s Law for the rest of his life once he is released from prison.
Searer cited several things detailed in the SOAB report, including Terry’s “pedophilia” and “mental abnormalities,” as well as a pattern of predatory and violent behavior.
Terry was asked twice by Searer if he would like to comment, prior to sentencing, but he remained silent.
The younger of the two victims did choose to speak on Wednesday and thundered away at Terry, who would not face his accuser.
“After today, I won’t think of you again,” she said stoically.
She went on to say that she did not agree with the plea bargain put in place and wanted Terry to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“The truth is this, you rape little girls of their innocence,” she said.
“Give me no apologies, because I give you no sympathy,” she added.
The two young women who were sexually assaulted by Terry testified in graphic detail during preliminary hearings in December 2011 at Magisterial District Judge Aaron Gingrich’s office.
During the first hearing, the then 18-year-old alleged victim testified the sexual abuse by Terry began when she was between the ages of 10 and 11 years old and continued for several years.
The woman testified Terry told her he was having sex with her to “protect her” and that Terry trusted her not to tell anyone about the sexual contact.
“He said he loved me more than anything … he said it would cause a lot of problems for him if I told anyone,” she testified.
She further stated Terry would sometimes apologize for assaulting her and would cry about it as well.
The alleged victim told police Terry assaulted her over a period of five years starting when she was 11 years old and would give her whiskey and marijuana, police said.
She further testified that she has been diagnosed by three psychologists as having post-traumatic stress disorder, causing her to block out many of the details of the assaults.
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Richard Leight testified a telephone conversation between Terry and the alleged victim was recorded. Leight then played the recording for those at the hearing.
“Can you tell me why?” the alleged victim asked during the recorded conversation as she broke down emotionally.
“I need to get over this and feel better,” she continued.
“Honey I hate to talk on the phone … everything is fine, nobody did anything wrong,” a voice alleged to be Terry’s said.
As the recorded conversation continued, the demeanor of the voice alleged to be Terry’s shifted in the other direction.
“Honey I was so wrong … honey I’m so sorry … everything was my fault,” Terry allegedly said.
During the course of the second preliminary hearing, then-Mifflin County District Attorney Steve Snook called a 24-year-old woman who claimed Terry assaulted her several times.
The alleged victim in this case testified she was first assaulted by Terry when she was 14 years old.
She testified she was scared of Terry and didn’t tell him to stop but tried to squirm away during the first assault.
She further testified that Terry assaulted her approximately 8 to 10 times over the course of several years.
“He would tell me it was OK, it was alright, nobody needed to know. He always said he loved me,” she testified.
“I was afraid of him,” she said as she explained Terry’s violent behavior at times.
She said that the last assault occurred at a hotel in Milroy.
“I felt scared but I felt like after a while, after being told it was OK, like maybe it was normal,” she said.