77-year-old man who raped woman sentenced to over 7 years, up to life in prison

77-year-old man who raped woman sentenced to over 7 years, up to life in prison
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A 77-year-old man pleaded guilty to first-degree child rape on April 2.

Merlyn R. Schmelzer admitted to sexually abusing a young woman that he knew. According to a release from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, the abuse began in 2011 and continued over several years in three Washington state counties.

SCSO said the investigation into the abuse began in late 2016 when the victim reported the crime to law enforcement. In July 2018, SCSO conducted an inteview with Schmelzer where he admitted to sexually abusing the victim. Schmelzer was then arrested and booked into the Spokane County Jail for first-degree child rape.

Schmelzer was sentenced on May 14 to 7 years, 9 months and up to life in prison.

The Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) Indeterminate Sentence Review Board will review this case and determine if Schmelzer is suitable for release after the initial time has passed.

If released from prison, he will be on lifetime DOC supervision and must register as a sex offender.

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