Thursday, August 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Tattoo artist waives jury trial in child-sex case

A Bristol Township woman and her niece both had sex with Walter Meyerle as teenagers, according to their accounts. He is charged with sexually assaulting 15 children over a 10-year period.

Tattoo artist waives jury trial in child-sex case

Blog Image
Walter Meyerle walks out of courtroom Monday, on first day of trial in Bucks County Court. (Bill Reed/Staff)

A tattoo artist charged with 195 sex crimes against 15 boys and girls dating back to 2003 waived his right to a jury trial Monday in Bucks County Court.

Other charges against Walter Meyerle, 35, of Falls Township, involving an alleged plot to escape from Bucks County Prison, were severed from the trial, which is expected to last at least a week.

Meyerle is charged with assaulting the children, ages 4 to 17, after befriending them, their parents and other relatives.  In the first case presented Monday, he allegedly assaulted a 15-year-old Bensalem girl and, about seven years later, allegedly assaulted her niece.

The niece agreed to sex in exchange for a tattoo, according to her account, which was read by county Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Schorn.

The girl refused Meyerle’s advances at first, according to the account, until he asked, “How bad do you want a tattoo.” She then allowed the man she called “Uncle Walt” to touch her sexually and have sex with her, according to the account.

The girl first met Meyerle when she was about 7 and her aunt was 15. They moved into his home on Jefferson Avenue in Bristol Borough with the girl’s mother, after the mother lost her apartment, according to testimony.

Meyerle engaged both girls in phone sex, including more than 50 times with the niece, though the girls said they faked it to avoid making him angry. He videotaped the aunt giving him oral sex, and he would talk to the girls about them teaching young children about sex, according to the accounts.

One time, he told the aunt to touch the penis of Meyerle’s 4-year-old son, who was in bed with them, according to her account. She pretended to but didn’t do it, she said.

The names of both girls and the mother were read in court but are being withheld by The Inquirer.   

Meyerle is charged with 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.

Judge Diane E. Gibbons severed the charges of trying to escape from the county prison, saying she was “not convinced there is sufficient evidence to support each charge.”

Meyerle has been in prison since March 2011, when he was charged with the sexual assault of one child. After he was charged in that case, 14 other children came forward, resulting in 195 charges, most of them felonies.

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.

BucksInq  
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected