DA: Catawba County man, woman sexually assaulted 10-year-old

Amy Branch and James Merritt were sentenced for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl. (Catawba County District Attorney's Office)

A woman and a man have been sentenced by a state judge for their involvement in the sexual assault of a child. 

Amy Norris Branch and Jamie Merritt were arrested for sexual assaulting a 10-year old girl. The victim was drugged and sexually assaulted, Claremont Police said.

An investigation revealed that in September 2010, Merritt and Branch gave the little girl Bendadryl, and touched her inappropriately. Merritt also admitted to engaging in oral sex with the victim. 

On Thursday, Feb. 21 a judge decided that Branch will begin her four to six-year sentence at North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections and will have to register as a lifetime sex offender.

She is currently serving a prison term from Davie County for a conviction that happened in 2017 that is set to end in January 2020.

The co-defendant, Merritt, pleaded guilty in Catawba County and will serve a 20 to 25-year sentence for three counts of first-degree rape.

The investigation into the assault began in 2015 when Merritt confessed to engaging in sexual misconduct with the minor to police. Branch later confessed to her involvement as well.