Already a registered sex offender, the former Bethlehem man went to trial this week despite a written confession in which he admitted molesting a 7-year-old girl.
Found guilty by a Northampton County jury, Donald R. Kemmerer III offered no remorse or explanation at sentencing Thursday, even as a Northampton County judge called him a pedophile who was rightly convicted.
Kemmerer will serve a minimum sentence of nearly 13 years in state prison before he is eligible for parole, Judge Paula Roscioli ordered. He could be held for as long as 35 years, under his maximum sentence.
“I, like the jury, have no question that you committed these acts,” Roscioli told the 31-year-old Kemmerer, who has a prior conviction for possessing child pornography.
“What you have done to this young girl is unforgivable,” Roscioli said.
On Tuesday, jurors needed only about 90 minutes of deliberations to find Kemmerer guilty of sexually assaulting the child, allegations that came to light last year after her father took her to Bethlehem police.
Assistant District Attorney Laura Majewski said Kemmerer abused the girl for more than a year, disrobing her and touching her inappropriately. Questioned by investigators in April, Kemmerer provided them with a written statement in which he apologized, though he admitted to only one encounter.
“I, Donald Kemmerer III, am deeply sorry for what I did,” he wrote in the document, which was shown to the jury. “I’d like [the girl] to know that it’ll never happen again, even if it means I’ll never get to see her again.”
Kemmerer was found guilty of indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child and corrupting a minor. He was also convicted of one count of the most serious charge against him — aggravated indecent assault — though he was acquitted of three others.
Roscioli’s sentence was longer than recommended by guidelines for the charges, but she said it was justified by Kemmerer’s lack of remorse and his 2011 guilty plea to having child pornography, a conviction she kept out of his trial for fear of prejudicing jurors against him.
Kemmerer’s lengthy prison term caused a family member of his to burst into tears in the courtroom, and the defendant to mutter to his lawyer.
“I don’t understand how I’m supposed to feel remorse if I’m innocent,” Kemmerer told defense attorney James Connell.
Kemmerer was living in Chestnuthill Township, Monroe County, when police interviewed him at his trailer home, arresting him after his admissions. At the time, he was required to register for 15 years as a sex offender, given his prior case, for which he received a time-served sentence and five years of court-ordered supervision, according to court records.
Kemmerer will now have to register for life as a sex offender.
As Roscioli outlined those requirements on Thursday, Kemmerer stared blankly at the desk in front of him, even as the judge pressed him to acknowledge the rules he must follow under Megan’s Law.
“I know you’re not happy, but do you understand?” Connell asked his client.
After a pause, Kemmerer said he did.