Saturday, July 4, 2015

Trial to start for ex-tattoo parlor owner on child-sex charges

Walter Meyerle may waive a jury trial. He also faces charges of plotting to escape from prison.

Trial to start for ex-tattoo parlor owner on child-sex charges

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Jury selection is scheduled to begin this morning for Walter Meyerle, the former owner of a Falls Township tattoo parlor owner charged with 210 crimes, most of them felony sexual assaults, against 14 children.

Meyerle, 35,  may waive his right to a jury trial in Bucks County Court in Doylestown.

He faces charges of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with minors, aggravated indecent assault, sexual assault, and statutory sexual assault, all felonies. He also faces dozens of misdemeanor charges.

Prosecutors claim the attacks occurred over a 10-year period, involving victims ranging in age from 4 to 17. Two were boys. At least one girl said she had become pregnant and had an abortion.

Allegations against Meyerle were first reported to police as far back as 2003, court records show, yet no arrests were made.

Meyerle also faces charges of trying to escape from the county prison and of possessing child pornography. He has been in prison since March 2011, when he was charged with the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl.

After that case, 13 other children came forward, resulting in 195 charges.

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About this blog
Chris Palmer covers Bucks County for the Philadelphia Inquirer. His previous work has appeared in the New York Times and on several Times blogs, including City Room, the Local East Village and SchoolBook (which has since been taken over by WNYC). Contact him at cpalmer@phillynews.com, 610 313 8212 or on Twitter, @cs_palmer.

Ben Finley covers Bucks County for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He previously worked for The Associated Press, FactCheck.org and the Bucks County Courier Times, where he won more than a dozen journalism awards from organizations including the Education Writers Association, the Society for Features Journalism and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and graduated with honors from The Ohio State University with a degree in journalism. Contact him at bfinley@phillynews.com, 610-313-8118 or on Twitter, @Ben_Finley.

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