Judge Hoped in 2010 that Grace Packer Was 'Resilient Enough'

Judge Hoped in 2010 that Grace Packer Was 'Resilient Enough'

At David Packer's sentencing in 2011 for sex with a foster daughter and indecent assault of an adopted daughter, since identified as Grace Packer, a judge said the young girls "will struggle with this for quite a while."

Lehigh County Judge Kelly Banach admonished Packer for taking the two underage girls into his home, "the place where these girls could seek safe haven and sort of determine their moral compass from you and you totally blew it."

"Hopefully, they will get the appropriate treatment," Banach said, according to court transcripts obtained by NBC10. "Hopefully, they are resilient enough that they will just move beyond this. But you had the potential to have caused them significant trauma."

At the time of the abuses, David Packer was married to Sara Packer, who is charged with Grace's rape and murder.

The documents are proof that Grace Packer, described by friends and acquaintances as a sweet, friendly teenager, endured abuse from an early age.

Her troubled life came to an end in July when, authorities allege, her adoptive mother, Sara Packer, and Sara's boyfriend, Jacob Sullivan, carried out a "rape-murder fantasy" on the teenager.

The couple allegedly beat, raped and killed Grace Packer in their rented home in Quakertown and left her in the attic for months before eventually dumping the body in a wooded area of Luzerne County, according to authorities.

Sara Packer and Jacob Sullivan are being held without bail and scheduled to next appear in court Jan. 20.

According to the transcripts, Banach sentenced David Packer to 18 months to eight years in state prison for one count of statutory sexual assault of the foster daughter, who has never been identified, and one count of indecent assault of Grace Packer.

Identified in the transcripts as "Miss G.P.," Grace was 9 years old when her adoptive father forced her to touch his penis "numerous times," according to the documents.

In addition, David Packer admitted to having oral sex and intercourse with the foster daughter in 2007, when the girl was 15 and he was 31.

The court transcripts are dated June 21, 2011 and Oct. 10, 2011. At the June hearing, David Packer admitted to taking prescribed medication to treat depression and anxiety. He told Banach that 15 months earlier he had been hospitalized for mental illness.

"I take Lamictal, Effexor-XR and Klonopin," he testified.

At the October sentencing, Banach said a court-ordered clinical assessment concluded David Packer "does suffer from a mental abnormality or personality disorder, specifically, I believe it was pedophilia and paraphilia."

"I believe that (the clinician) opined that there was a likelihood that he would re-offend," the judge said.

In addition to his jail sentence, David Packer was ordered to register as a sex offender for life under Megan's Law.

In an interview with NBC10.com last month, David Packer denied that Grace Packer was one of the two victims. He told a reporter earlier this week that he would not comment any more about his conviction.

On Tuesday, The Associated Press reported that Grace Packer was one of his victims.

At David Packer's plea hearing, the Lehigh County assistant district attorney who prosecuted David Packer said the victim, Miss G.P., told a detective of the indecent sexual touching involving her adoptive father.

Sara Packer, who until August of 2016 remained legally married to David Packer, was not mentioned in either court documents.

Authorities have not publicly discussed what she knew of David Packer's abuses at the time of their occurrences last decade.

However, Sara Packer was fired from her job as a case supervisor with the Northampton County Child, Youth and Family Office in April 2010, two months before David Packer was arrested and charged in the sex assault cases, according to a termination letter obtained by NBC10.com.

The exact reason for her termination was redacted by the county solicitor's office, but County Administrator Kevin Dolan wrote in the letter that Packer initially told him of what were deemed fireable offenses on Jan. 20, 2010.

"Based on the seriousness of these allegations of misconduct, you were suspended without pay effective January 20, 2010, pending the completion of the investigation," Dolan wrote.

The letter went on to note that the termination was based in part on documents Packer provided and that her "undisputed actions" violated the county's ethics and disciplinary employee codes.

The state Department of Human Services has opened an investigation into Sara Packer, who fostered 30 children since 1998 in addition to adopting Grace Packer and Grace's younger brother. The adoption took place in 2004 in Berks County.

The Packers, who are now divorced, received subsidies for fostering those children and for their custody of Grace and her brother. The brother is reportedly with extended family, but authorities have declined to be more specific about his care.

David Packer currently lives in Northampton Borough and works in Allentown, according to his Megan's Law entry. He is one of 1,928 offenders on the list of sexually violent predators.

During the two hearings in 2011, he said very little. He acknowledged the judge's instructions and answered her questions about the allegations and his ongoing treatment.

Banach said Packer had no one to blame but himself.

"It's all on you, you were the authority, you were the parental figure," the judge said. "You know, as Nancy Reagan says, just say no. There was no excuse for the behavior."