On Friday, September 5, retired Flint Police Sgt. Lawrence Woods was arraigned on 16 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Since that time, two more individuals have come forward with similar allegations, according to a news article at Mlive.com. As of yesterday, Flint Police were interviewing the alleged victims, according to Sgt. Karl Petrich.
The 16 counts Woods was arraigned on last week pertain to two alleged victims who were minors at the time they were assaulted during a time period beginning in 1996 and ending in 1999. Woods’ attorney, Frank Manley, said that in cases that are old such as this one and also high profile, there are questions to be answered. Considering the allegations are concerning something that allegedly happened beginning 18 years ago, it becomes suspect.
Petrich said that investigators found substantial evidence in a raid of the homes Woods had stayed at or lived in, including hundreds of photographs depicting child pornography which were not downloaded from the Internet. Petrich maintains that the photographs of victims were taken at a local hotel room and Woods’ apartment. He also said that it was believed Woods sexually assaulted the victims while he was on duty, using his position of authority over the children.
To date, four alleged victims have come forward, but Petrich believes there may be many more. First-degree criminal sexual conduct involving children results in a sentence of 25 years to life in prison for those convicted.
As all Michigan sex crime attorneys are aware, old cases such as this one truly are suspect. Why do victims wait for nearly 20 years to come forward? After this many years, gathering concrete evidence is nearly impossible. In some situations, people may fabricate stories in an effort to get publicity, or even money from the alleged offender. We will see how this plays out in the coming weeks and months.