MERCER, Pa. (AP) – A 49-year-old western Pennsylvania man has blamed a then-10-year-old girl for initiating sex with him as he was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison.

The (Sharon) Herald reports Merrell “Moe” Sanders was sentenced Thursday after pleading no contest to two counts of rape for repeated contact with the girl starting in 2007, when she was 10.

Even Sanders’ defense attorney, Randall Hetrick, says the case “can’t be much worse.” The defense attorney believes Sanders is having a hard time acknowledging his crimes “because the facts are so horrible.”

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Mercer County Judge Daniel Wallace warned Sanders that he’ll likely serve the maximum 20 year sentence if he can’t acknowledge wrongdoing. That’s because the state parole board won’t grant his release if he continues to deny the crimes.

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