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Bethlehem man sentenced to up to 55 years

Published On: Jan 21 2014 02:32:04 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 21 2014 07:10:50 PM EST

A Bethlehem man charged with sexually assaulting a young child will spend decades behind bars.


Donald Pembleton of Bethlehem has been sentenced to up to 55 years in state prison for being a violent sex offender.

He was sentenced Tuesday in Northampton County Court.

Pembleton negotiated a plea in September.


Even if he receives a minimum 27.5 year sentence, rarely given to sexual offenders according to prosecutors,  the 56-year-old defendant won't be considered for parole until he is 83 years old.

In late April, Pembleton was arrested by Bethlehem police who caught him sexually abusing a 4-year-old girl in the backyard of a home along Thomas Street in the city.

Police investigated to determine if there were more victims after witnesses reported seeing Pembleton trying to befriend other young children in the neighborhood.