Ex-Gilbertsville-area man admits to indecent contact with underage girl

NORRISTOWN — A 70-year-old Florida man who once resided in the Gilbertsville area has admitted that he had inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with a girl who was under the age of 13.

Michael Theodore Pratt, of Bradenton, Fla., was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to four-months and six-days already served to 23 months in the county jail after he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of indecent assault in connection with incidents that occurred between January 2004 and December 2005 in Douglass (Mont.). Judge Joseph A. Smyth, who accepted a plea agreement in the matter, also ordered Pratt to complete three years’ probation, consecutive to his parole, meaning Pratt will be under court supervision for about five years.

At the time of the incidents the girl was between 7 and 8 years-old while Pratt was 60 or 61.

“Mr. Pratt is extraordinarily remorseful over this situation and I think his guilty plea and early acceptance of responsibility in this case shows that,” defense lawyer Gregory Nester said on Pratt’s behalf. “He did not drag this case on needlessly, did not have hearings that would have forced the victim to testify in a courtroom, so he spared her that difficulty, and from the very beginning accepted his involvement in this situation.”

While he received a time served sentence, Pratt will not be released from jail until authorities devise an appropriate parole plan for him, the judge said.

The judge ordered Pratt to have no contact with the victim as a condition of the sentence. Pratt also must comply with any counseling recommendations made by parole and probation officials, the judge said.

Under Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law, Pratt must report his address to police for the rest of his life.

Pratt also must be evaluated by the Pennsylvania Sexual Offender Assessment Board, which will determine if Pratt meets criteria under Megan’s Law to be classified as a sexually violent predator. Those deemed to be predators face more stringent restrictions under Megan’s Law, including mandatory counseling and community notification about their housing arrangements.

An investigation by Douglass (Mont.) police began in August 2012 when officials of Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth contacted authorities about allegations made by the victim against Pratt. The girl reported that Pratt had touched her in an indecent manner on several occasions while she was in his company at a residence in the township between 2004 and 2005, according to court papers.

During the subsequent investigation, detectives recorded a consensual phone conversation between the victim and Pratt during which Pratt “disclosed guilt and remorse,” according to the criminal complaint. In September 2012, Pratt also sent email messages to the girl’s relatives, apologizing for his conduct, according to the arrest affidavit.

Follow Carl Hessler Jr. on Twitter @MontcoCourtNews