By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
A Sheakleyville man said he still is not sure what happened the night he allegedly indecently assaulted a 12-year-old girl, but John A. Demico said he was ready to take his punishment.
“Even those who think they’re good make mistakes sometimes,” Demico said at his sentence hearing Thursday.
Demico pleaded guilty Aug. 6 to a charge of indecent assault. He entered an Alford plea, meaning he did not have to answer questions about his conduct. Such a plea is often used when a defendant does not remember what happened, such as because of alcohol or drug use.
Demico, who has medical problems that require a full-time caregiver, said his inability to remember might have been caused by medication he was taking at the time, but he can’t be sure.
“I’m really sorry for what did happen that shouldn’t have happened,” he said.
The girl told police she was sleeping on Demico’s living room sofa between May 31 and Oct. 1 in 2011 when she was awakened by Demico touching her, police said.
The girl told police her story in March, at age 14.
The girl’s mother testified Thursday that her daughter is a “beautiful, sweet, funny little girl,” and she said she was glad her daughter was able to talk to her about what happened.
The mother said the revelations have been “a tremendous test of my faith,” but she told Demico she forgives him. She said she hopes her daughter will one day be able to forgive him.
Demico and the girl’s family attend the same church. He said he has always enjoyed attending the youth functions at the church, but has backed off since the charges were filed.
Other than attending worship services, “I pretty much stay away from anything,” he said.
He said he is getting a lot of support from his church.
“I’d just like to move on with what time I have left on earth and learn from it,” he said.
Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas R. Dobson sentenced Demico to 2 years’ probation. While Dobson ruled that Demico is not a sexually violent predator, Demico still will have to register as a sex offender for life.
During his probation, Demico will not be allowed to have unsupervised contact with children.