A 57-year-old Merrill man who attempted to groom young girls as a child predator has been sentenced to 41 years in prison.
Gary Ver Kilen was found guilty of two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child under 13, two counts of stalking and two counts of child enticement with sexual contact. A jury found him not guilty on three other charges.
Three young sisters went to police last October, saying Ver Kilen sexually touched them on their thighs last summer on a trip to his deer stand. More victims came forward with incidents of stalking and leaving of explicit notes in April of 2015 and January of 2016.
Prosecutors say Ver Kilen’s victims ranged in age from 9 to 16 as he tried to groom young girls of single mothers. He also made a habit of keeping swing sets and bicycles on his property, which prosecutors say was a lure.
Ver Kilen did not testify during a three-day trial.