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Home Crime A friend of the family forced a 13-year-old girl to have sex and kept the abuse secret by making a 'pinky promise' not to tell

A friend of the family forced a 13-year-old girl to have sex and kept the abuse secret by making a 'pinky promise' not to tell

Later, following the pinky promise, the man who has been condemned since then started making threats. The abuser warned the girl that he would harm her family if she talked about her abuse.

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Gerald Hale appears in a booking photo

Gerald Hale appears in a booking photo in April 2022 (Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office)

An upstate New York A man will spend the next seven years in state prison for repeatedly sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.

In late January, Gerald Hale, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree. After being on the run from police for nearly two months, he turned himself in on multiple counts, including sexual abuse in the second degree, attempted rape in the second degree, criminal sexual act in the first degree, criminal sexual act in the second degree, menacing in the third degree, endangering the welfare of a child, and a parole violation in April 2022.

On Thursday, Onondaga County Court Judge Matthew J. Doran held a sentencing hearing during which the victim’s family revealed shocking and tragic details about how Hale sought to manipulate his victim.

Before the sentence was handed down, Onondaga County Assistant District Attorney Ariana Pastorello read from a letter written by the girl’s family, according to a courtroom report by

For years, the prosecutor said, Hale ingratiated himself with the victim’s family. During this time, the since-condemned man celebrated holidays with the girl and her relatives — even traveling together.

But all the while, police say, Hale was sexually abusing the girl.

In a felony criminal complaint obtained by the outlet, law enforcement accused the defendant of forcing oral sex on a 12-year-old girl between June 1, 2021, and Aug. 17, 2021, at a residence in Syracuse. The charging documents also allege he forced oral sex on the girl — by then 13 — on three separate occasions between Aug. 18, 2021, and Dec. 8, 2021. On that final date mentioned in the complaint, Hale also allegedly tried to force the girl to have sex with him.

Police wrote in the complaint that the abuse was “injurious to the mental and moral welfare of” the victim.

The secretive sexual abuse only went on for so long, according to the family’s letter, because Hale was able to extract a “pinky promise” from his victim that she would not tell anyone about what he did. Later, Hale turned to threats, the letter said. The abuser told the girl he would hurt her family if she spoke about her abuse.

Hale’s sentencing would allow the girl to begin the process of moving forward with her life, safe with the knowledge that he could never abuse her again, the family’s letter reportedly said.

Remarking on the plea agreement, the judge said the compromise there left both sides disappointed, according to But, Doran said, he approved the deal to spare the family from having to relive the girl’s abuse during a potential trial.

The defendant reportedly wished the girl a speedy recovery and prayed for forgiveness.

Hale has a lengthy criminal history, including a prior parole violation, a domestic charge, a weapons charge, criminal trespass and criminal contempt, according to court documents obtained by

He will have to register as a sex offender upon his eventual release from an Empire State prison.



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