LOGAN — A 47-year-old Smithfield man has been sentenced to 10 days in jail and two years probation for showing pornographic images on his phone to employees at several local businesses. George Cyrus Merrill was ordered to report to the Cache County Jail by February 2 to begin his sentence, after apologizing to the community.
Merrill was sentenced Wednesday, Jan. 24, in Logan’s 1st District Court. He previously pleaded guilty to stalking, a class A misdemeanor; and two counts of lewdness, a class B misdemeanor.
On Aug. 2, Merrill approached an employee at a department store. He asked for a particular item and proceeded to grab his phone to show the item needed. While showing a picture of the item, he swiped through other images on his phone which included a photo of his genitals.
The employee told Logan City Police officers, Merrill continued to swipe through photos, returning to the naked image several times.
The employee said they were alarmed and walked away from Merrill. They later spoke to the store’s manager after other employees reported similar incidents.
All three victims described how Merrill walked up to them and asked for a certain item. He then pulled out his cellphone and proceeded to show several pictures, including the pornographic photo of himself.
The incidents happened several times at stores in Logan and North Logan. Store managers were able to provide police with security camera footage of the defendant inside the stores.
This also occurred at a local hair salon. Merrill showed similar pictures to a beautician after receiving a haircut. The defendant had claimed to have a coupon and then showed the beautician photos of his genitals, while scrolling through images on his phone.
As law enforcement investigated, Merrill admitted to police he showed the pornographic photos to the women. However, he claimed it was accidental.
During Wednesday’s sentencing, defense attorney Shannon Demler said he couldn’t explain Merrill’s actions. He said his client was a normal family man, involved in his church and community.
“It doesn’t make sense, what Merrill did,” Demler told the court. “This is inexcusable and totally out of his character.”
Merrill said he had always tried to be an upright and positive member of the community. However, he explained how several months before the crimes occurred he began experiencing severe levels of depression. He went onto apologize to the victims, his family, and society, expressing hope that his story would benefit others.
In addition to the jail time and probation, Judge Brian Cannell ordered Merrill to complete sex-offender therapy and allow probation agents to monitor his internet browsing history.