A Sudbury man convicted of engaging in a bizarre sexual act against a 10-year-old boy he was babysitting was spared a jail sentence Tuesday, but will have to spend the next 27 months under strict community supervision.
Daniel Mercier, 37, was found guilty following a trial of sexually assaulting the boy during a "sleepover" at Mercier's home the evening of Aug. 4, 2004.
Justice William Fitzgerald found Mercier guilty of rubbing the boy's leg, grabbing at his crotch and sucking his toes in the middle of the evening. Mercier, who maintains his innocence, wept uncontrollably while pleading with the court to not send him back to jail.
Fitzgerald placed Mercier under strict house arrest where he can't leave his house for any reason, except medical emergencies or to attend counseling, for 17 hours a day for the first nine months. He is not allowed to be with any child under age 14 unless accompanied by a responsible adult, and he's to seek out any counseling deemed appropriate by his probation officer.
Those same conditions apply over the following 18 months when Mercier will be on probation, said Fitzgerald. Mercier was also ordered to provide a DNA sample for a national crime data bank and his name will be placed on a national sex offender registry.
Before Fitzgerald passed sentence, Mercier sobbed "I'm sorry...I'm sorry if he (victim) thought I was going to hurt him...I'm sorry for all the stuff I've put everyone through the past 15 months.