Additional charges in sex offense investigation

Published 8:46pm Monday, February 4, 2013

A Washington man arrested last month for sex crimes that allegedly span five decades now faces more charges.
Merrill Wilson Wallace, 73, of Cedar Lane, was initially arrested on Jan.11 by Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office investigators. At the time, he was charged with two counts of first degree sexual offense and eight counts of indecent liberties with a minor. Last Thursday, Lt. Jamie Cahoon obtained warrants charging Wallace with 11 additional counts of indecent liberties with a minor last Thursday.
Wallace was released from the Beaufort County Detention Center on Jan. 18, after his bond was reduced to $50,000 and was placed under electronic house arrest between the hours of 3 p.m. and 8 a.m. daily, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office. Wallace’s secured bond was originally $150,000.
According to Maj. Kenneth Watson, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, it isn’t unusual for the agency to monitor up to 10 individuals under house arrest at any given time.
“You don’t often see it used in addition to bond — typically you see it instead of bond,” he added.
Watson said that a sixth victim was identified in the ongoing investigation and there is the potential for additional charges. Because there is no statute of limitations on any felony in North Carolina, Wallace can be charged for crimes dating back 50 years, though an person can only be charged under laws in effect at the time a crime was committed.
“He still has not been charged with the oldest offenses,” Watson said.

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