Spanning a seven-year period from 2006-2013, Air Force Technical Sgt. Michael L. Merritt was convicted this week of sexual molestation of four girls ages 5 to 14. He has been sentenced to 50 years in prison, however, in exchange for a guilty plea, his sentence will be capped at 25 years.
Much of the court proceedings and testimony were not available for publication. The pre-trial agreement, in addition to limiting Merritt’s prison time, also kept the young girls from the agony of a public testimony.
Most of the charges against Merritt took place during his assignment in Germany at Ramstein AFB and at least one incident in Cheyenne, Wyo. The sexual predator’s charges include aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping and attempted kidnapping, sodomy, sexual abuse, and assault consummated by battery.
Yesterday’s Stars and Stripes released this statement from Special Agent Michael Tischer, Major Crimes Division:
“Investigators spent several months conducting more than 600 interviews and collecting more than 250 forensic samples from potential suspects.
OSI agents received more than 100 tips from the Kaiserslautern Military Community
The judge-only court martial took place at F.E. Warren Air Force base in Cheyenne and the verdict was announced yesterday, March 20.
Merritt was stripped of his rank, forfeited all pay and received a dishonorable discharge. Merritt will be transferred to military prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.
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