A police officer who dressed up as a clown and performed for children charged guilty for sexual assault involving two 4 year old girls. Michael Fernsler, 34, of the 3700 block of Orrstown Road, Franklin County, faces a maximum of 95 years in prison and as much as a $80,000 fine. Police received a report from a township resident that her two foster children had been molested by a friend of the family.
The girls were then taken to Harrisburg Hospital where they were examined. Medical evidence corroborated the girls’ stories.
When he was arrested, Fernsler admitted molesting the two girls and said he was seeking counseling because he was addicted to pornography.
Fernsler had positioned himself to be near children, authorities said. In a 2004 Patriot-News story, Fernsler said his clown act had landed him invitations from nursing homes, hospitals and day-care centers. Fernsler, who had a form of sex with one of the girls in front of her sister, pleaded guilty to one count each of indecent sexual intercourse, unlawful contact and indecent assault as well as two counts of corruption of a minor.
Fernsler was a North Londonderry Twp. patrolman for almost two years. Before that he was a Baltimore County, Md., police officer for four years. He had also served three years in the Army.