A man who lived in Albany and then Philomath has been sentenced to more than 31 years in prison for sex crimes against an adolescent girl.
Jeffrey Allen Merrill, 45, pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree sex abuse, from a Linn County case, and first-degree sodomy, from a Benton County case.
Merrill knew the victim, and the crimes took place between December 2016 and August 2017.
Several other sex crimes were dismissed as part of a negotiated settlement.
The victim’s mother emotionally testified during the sentencing hearing, asking for the maximum sentence for the case and telling Judge DeAnn Novotny that her daughter’s innocence was stolen.
“She has lost her childhood and she will never get that back,” the mother added.
The brother of the victim told Novotny that his sister has problems with anxiety, difficulty sleeping due to nightmares and has to keep her hands busy to keep from pulling out her own hair. She also has discussed self-harm and suicide, has difficulty keeping friends and likes watching others in conflict because it boosts her own self-esteem, the brother said.
Defense attorney Paul Kuebrich asked Novotny for a 25-year sentence in the case, saying that Merrill fully cooperated with police and confessed.
“To his credit and now to his detriment, he was absolutely honest,” Kuebrich said.
Merrill also made a brief statement to the court. “I made a mistake. Nothing I can say is going to change what I did. I’m sorry,” he said.
Novotny made the sentences for each crime consecutive, resulting in the prison stint of roughly 31 years. Merrill will not be eligible for any early release options except for credit for time served in the Linn County Jail, where he has resided since October.