Milan man is sentenced to 60 years in prison on Child Molest charges

Wanda English Burnett

Calvin W. Merida, 38 of Milan, came before Ripley County Circuit Court Judge Carl Taul on Monday, January 30 for sentencing on Class A felony counts of Child Molest.

Although the defendant had nothing to say in court, his attorney did present a prepared letter he had written. The judge read the letter before the court, which read in part, “There’s nothing I can say to express how sorry I am...maybe one day (the victim) will forgive me.”

In the letter, Merida said he knew something was wrong with him and now maybe he can get the help he needs. He said he wasn’t sorry because he got caught, but sorry for the deeds he had done.

Judge Taul said he’s seen a lot of child molest cases in his time as judge, but none where the victim had a greater impact statement. The victim said it’s like being pushed off a cliff when going outside of the home now. The judge went on to say that coupled with the fact the criminal acts went on for seven years and the age of the child who was in the defendant’s care and control, he would be sentencing him to 60 years with no time suspended - 30 years on each count to be served consecutively.

Merida was given an appropriate sentence according to the feelings of Prosecutor Ric Hertel, who had asked for exactly what the judge handed down. “The sentence is certainly appropriate considering the ongoing nature of the crime.” He went on to say that these were “crimes of violence”. The prosecutor said the victim was very brave in this case, and noted that the jury had already been selected and the trial was beginning before Merida decided to say he was guilty. It was just before the victim was to testify that the defendant decided to enter the plea of guilty.

Prosecutor Hertel had high praise for Detective Tracy Rohlfing of the Indiana State Police for how he investigated and handled the case. “He did an excellent job,” he told the Osgood Journal just after the sentencing hearing was held Monday morning. “This was a very just sentence,” he concluded.

Pictured above right, Randy Thieman, jail employee escorts Calvin Merida out of the courthouse after he was sentenced to 60 years in prison.