WRAL Investigates

Granville County man pleads guilty to child sex charges

Posted August 22, 2011

— A Granville County man who was supposed to go to trial Monday was sentenced to 16 to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to statutory rape and indecent liberties charges involving two girls.

Marcello Lara III, 39, was facing nine charges in connection with the crimes, which happened between 2005 and 2009.

Granville County Assistant District Attorney Cindy Bostic said in court Monday that he confessed to having sex multiple times with a 13-year-old victim from 2007 to 2009. He also confessed to victimizing an 11-year-old girl in October 2005.

Search warrant affidavits in the case allege that both Lara and his estranged wife, Maria Lara, 27, were involved in sex acts with the two girls and also took photos and videos of them.

Investigators found hundreds of pornographic images on Marcello Lara's computer, none of which were of the two girls, Bostic said.

Maria Lara, who faced five charges, pleaded guilty to two counts of sex offense. She was sentenced to three to six years in prison.

Couple pleads guilty to child sex charges Couple pleads guilty to child sex charges

Granville County sheriff's investigators initially investigated the claims of one of the girls in 2006 and the State Bureau of Investigation reopened the case last year when the second victim went to authorities.

"I always was told I wanted it to happen or that I was a liar," one of the victims said in a statement read in court. "There's always going to be a place in my heart where I believe it's all my fault."

Marcello Lara also faces charges in Orange County. He is expected to go to trial there next month.


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  • kelliherera Aug 29, 2011

    He is unbelieveable!! What nerve. She should get more than he did because she enabled it.

  • slantedeyes Aug 26, 2011

    Okay am i the only one to see something wrong with this the Wife only gets 3 years, I can't beleive it and she knew about it, I guess we can't just look at men anymore women molesting kids too! What is this world coming to?

  • amkm3075 Aug 23, 2011

    I would like to say that Granville County DSS believes in keeping families together but if they are abusing families, what the hell are ppl doing. When it first came out Granville county's Sheriff's deparment did not investigate it correctly...it was blotched.One victim stated it gave time for Marcello to burn all of the evidence and the whole family seen him burn it! I need an attourney ppl. This is crazy. I am in the family of the 1st victim that reported it. someone please help us.please

  • AX MAN Aug 23, 2011

    I think this guy is kin to John Edwards

  • cyjohnson Aug 23, 2011

    "Have I missed why these children where at this couple's house so much?"

    From the prior stories about the situation I read, my guess is one of the girls was his daughter.

  • glencindy Aug 23, 2011

    Total worthless human beings....rot, rot, rot away!
    Makes me sick to my stomach. I hope those girls recover somehow and realize it is NOT their fault!

  • Bing Used Aug 22, 2011

    Have I missed why these children where at this couple's house so much?

  • boneymaroney13 Aug 22, 2011

    To think this is permissable in S. America and even Mexico.

  • AWakeMom Aug 22, 2011

    "Why do we let animals like this live?"

    Because the second the death penelty is brought up, you get the activists screaming about how wrong it is to kill someone.

  • jrfergerson Aug 22, 2011

    Well maybe this one will make it through - this is the 3rd case of child abuse that has hit the news today. What is wrong with these so called humans that do this kind of stuff to children. Absolutely disgusting to society- Absolutely disgusting.