Man, accused of sexually assaulting child for years, sentenced to prison
A judge sentenced a Dover man to prison Thursday after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a child over a multi-year span.
Dallas Michael Eppley, 24, was sentenced to five to 10 years in prison on three counts: Rape by forcible compulsion, aggravated indecent assault of a child and simple assault. He will also be on probation for three years following his sentence.
Eppley was also classified by York County Court of Common Pleas Judge Gregory Snyder as a "sexually violent predator," a designation which makes him subject to lifetime sex offender registration.
Eppley was accused of sexually assaulting a child between 2013 and 2016, according to a criminal complaint. The assaults began when Eppley was also a child and continued after he turned 18.
The victim told Northern York County Regional Police she was sexually abused by Eppley "multiple times (in) a week and, sometimes, multiple times (in) a day."
Sexually violent predator: Judge Snyder heard arguments from York County senior deputy prosecutor Erin Kraska and defense attorney Diana Spurlin on whether Eppley could be deemed a sexually violent predator.
Robert Stein, a Lancaster-based psychologist, completed an assessment of Eppley and was called to testify prior to the sentencing. Stein testified that he considered a number of factors in his assessment, including Eppley’s history of mental illness, including ADHD and autism spectrum disorder, but concluded that his conduct justified him being deemed a sexually violent predator.
Spurlin objected to the sexually violent predator classification and argued that the doctor was considering evidence and accusations that Eppley did not plead guilty to and that the prosecution never proved. Kraska, in response, said the law doesn’t require that.
Snyder considered both sides’ arguments and ultimately ruled that evidence “clearly convinces the court” that Eppley is a sexually violent predator.
Accusations of enabling: Before the sentence, Spurlin appealed to the judge by alleging that Eppley's guardians gave him “free rein” in the household and enabled the misconduct. On one occasion, she alleged Eppley was instructed to apologize to a victim — no further action was taken.
“I believe while he did commit these acts, more than punishment he needs treatment,” she said. “He needs to finally learn; prior to this, nobody taught him.
She added: "If he had caretakers who taught him his behavior was inappropriate, we wouldn’t be here today."
The judge responded by saying that Eppley’s family were not the ones on trial and that Eppley was responsible for his own conduct.
“He may have some issues of his own, but I have no doubt he’s capable of making informed decisions and controlling his behavior,” Snyder said. “It’s not an excuse for someone who’s committed a criminal offense to say ‘he didn’t know any better.’”
The victim did not make a statement in front of the court, but she provided a written statement to the judge that he read before sentencing. Eppley also declined to make a statement when prompted by the judge.
Snyder's sentence of five-to-10 years was higher than the defense's recommendation, three to six years, but lower than prosecution's request of 10 to 20 years.
Eppley will receive credit for more than 800 days served in jail.
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— Reach Brandon Addeo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @BrandonAddeo.