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Police: Sex Offender Solicited 12-Year-Old Girl

Joseph Frank Gering Jr. offered to pay a 12-year-old girl $200 for sex in the McDonald's parking lot in South Bethlehem, police say.

When a 63-year-old man was charged earlier this week in Bethlehem with offering a 12-year-old girl $200 to have sex with him, an issue arose about his address.

The criminal complaint for Joseph Frank Gering Jr. lists his address as 105 N. 5th St., Emmaus, along with a post office box number.

But Gering is a convicted sex offender – in fact, he is listed as a “lifetime offender” on the Megan’s Law website. Gering was convicted in 1994 of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. The website does not say where.

The website lists his “primary residential address” as 1701 Catasauqua Road, Hanover Township (Lehigh County) – the address for the Scottish Inn & Suites.

So the question became: Where does Gering live? Also, it is against the law for a sex offender to move and not tell authorities.

It turns out that state police looked into the matter and found the answer, according to Lt. Vincent D’Angelo from state police at Bethlehem.

Gering has been living at the Catasauqua Road site and is in compliance with the law; 105 N. 5th St. is the address of the Emmaus Post Office, where Gering has a post office box, D’Angelo said.

Actually, Gering has been living at Northampton County Prison since he was committed there Monday in lieu of $500,000 bail, court records say.

The alleged incident involving Gering and the 12-year-old girl occurred during a 1 a.m. encounter Sunday outside the McDonald’s in the Five Points section of Bethlehem, the records say.

Gering later told police he had consumed “about eight beers” before arriving at the restaurant.

The 12-year-old and another girl – a 16-year-old – got into Gering’s SUV after he pulled into the restaurant parking lot at 442 Wyandotte St. The older girl left the vehicle after Gering offered the girls $100 “to hang out with him,” the records say.

But the 12-year-old stayed and Gering offered her $200 for sex. She said no.

According to the records, Gering told her, “I want to have sex with you, you’re beautiful.”

The 12-year-old, who later told police she stayed in the SUV because she wanted the McDonald’s food Gering offered to buy both girls, became upset by the comment, told Gering she wanted to get out of the vehicle – and did, the records say.

The criminal complaint, filed by Bethlehem Officer Ian Kiesselbach, provides additional details:

  • One of the witnesses listed in the complaint is Bethlehem police Sgt. Rodney Bronson, who was described as working an extra job at the McDonald’s. He said he was working at the restaurant when he saw Gering pull into the parking lot in a black 2008 Jeep Commander.
  • The girls approached Gering’s SUV, spoke with him, then got in. The 16-year-old told police he offered to take them through the drive-thru and buy them any menu item they wanted. She said he then offered the girls $100 “to hang out with him.”
  • The 16-year-old did not like the offer and got out of the SUV. The 12-year-old stayed. The older girl approached a person for help because the other girl was still in the SUV. The complaint does not say if the person she approached was a restaurant employee, a patron or someone else.
  • The 12-year-old told police she stayed because she wanted some food. But she told police she did not like Gering’s offer about sex and eventually got out of the SUV.
  • Gering later told Kiesselbach he drank “about eight beers” before driving to the McDonald’s. The officer said Gering smelled of alcohol and had slurred speech and red, bloodshot and glassy eyes.
  • Another Bethlehem officer had Gering perform field sobriety tests. The officer later told Kiesselbach that Gering was “not capable of driving a motor vehicle safely.”

Gering was arraigned by District Judge Nancy Matos Gonzalez of Bethlehem and charged with the following crimes:

Four counts each of promoting prostitution and corruption of minors; two counts each of unlawful conduct with a minor/prostitution, unlawful conduct with a minor/sexual offenses, and criminal solicitation with the intent of promoting or facilitating the rape of a child, and one count of DUI/general impairment.

Online court records indicate Gering was charged in July 2008 in Allentown with two counts of DUI and one count of careless driving. He was accepted into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program for first-time offenders.

Robert Sentner November 10, 2012 at 02:22 PM
So ridiculous, we lock up people for smoking pot, and leave a SCUM bag like this prowling the streets. Castration, followed by a tatoo across his forhead stating what he has been CONVICTED of. Our judicial system is broken.
Chandler November 10, 2012 at 02:31 PM
why were a 16 yr old and a 12 yr old out a 1 am? A despicable person--yes, agreed. But why were two young girls out so late without adult supervision?
Nancy O'Keefe November 10, 2012 at 02:52 PM
This is so horrible. Yes, why were there kids out at 1am? And the 12-yo staying in the car because she wanted some food??? That is so sad. Why can't parents learn parenting before having children. There are so many things about this story that point to our system's brokenness.
Bill Story November 10, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Agreed, he was wrong, but what about the parents, where were they and how could they allow a 12 y/o and a 16 y/o out at 1 a.m. in the morning. The police should also be looking into them.

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