Michigan criminal defense attorneys know that individuals found guilty of sex crimes involving children face extremely serious consequences. Recently, 35-year-old Kevin M. Lambert of Ypsilanti was sentenced to up to 70 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to six counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a 4-year-old girl who was in his care, according to news reports. Michigan Department of Corrections Struggles With Budget Challenges Pic

In October of last year, Lambert was charged in federal court for producing, distributing, receipt, and possession of child pornography. An undercover federal agent discovered that several videos and images of a young female child were displayed in a chat room, posted by a user with screen name Akyle679, and that the user insinuated the young girl was a child who was in his care. After discovering that the screen name belonged to Lambert on the Kik messaging app, agents began surveilling Lambert’s home. He was taken into federal custody and indicted on the charges.

The incidents took place between April and October of last year; all child pornography cases are handled at the federal level. On July 14, Lambert was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison by U.S. Eastern District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds on the producing, distributing, and possessing charges. An incident in June 2015 led to charges on six counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, which Lambert pleaded guilty to. These charges resulted in the 70-year sentence handed down on July 20. Lambert will serve the 40-year and 40 to 70 year sentences concurrently.

Recent news reports reveal that Kenneth Zolnierek, a 52-year-old man found guilty of sex crimes between 1994 and 2008 and ordered to register as a sex offender, is now a write-in candidate for the position of sheriff of Bay County. While it may sound a bit disconcerting to have someone convicted of felony crimes running for sheriff, it is perfectly legal for Zolnierek to seek the office under Michigan elections law.

Zolnierek is a registered sex offender and was convicted on sex charges in Alpena in 1994. Zolnierek says his mission as Bay County Sheriff is to make people of the community feel safer and more at home so they don’t have to lock their doors.”

Data obtained from the Michigan Department of Corrections revealed that since 1984, Zolnierek has been convicted on numerous charges including:

Recently it was revealed in a study conducted by Bowling Green State University that across the U.S., 40% of crimes committed by police officers are committed while those officers are on duty. Michigan is not immune when it comes to these statistics; in 2011, a Wayne State University police officer allegedly pulled over a female driver before placing her in his police vehicle and driving to a building where he reportedly pressured her into having sex. This officer was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and is now serving a 16 to 30 year prison sentence. Writing to Win Button- Appeals Section

According to news reports, there are at least three known instances over the past 18 months in which Michigan police officers have been charged with soliciting a prostitute, sexual assault, and larceny. County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III who was charged with 15 prostitution-related offenses himself earlier this year brought charges against two of these police officers.

The study which included criminal cases across the nation from 2005 to 2011 against police officers found that during this time period, more than 6,720 police officers faced criminal charges. The crimes these officers allegedly committed ran the gamut from sexual assault and DUI to child pornography and even murder. While the numbers are certainly disturbing, even more disturbing is the fact that 40% of these offenses were committed while the officers were on duty.

Being charged with sexual assault at any level can be life changing.  In Michigan, sexual assault or victim-shadowrape is charged as criminal sexual conduct, or CSC of varying degrees.  An individual may be charged with first-, second-, third-, or fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct depending on certain factors such as whether penetration occurred, the age of the alleged victim, and more.

The person charged with CSC may be referred to as the defendant or “actor.”  There are certain definitions under Michigan Penal Code Section 750.520a that will help you better understand each degree (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th) as we explain them below.  

Actor.  The actor, or defendant, is the individual accused of committing CSC.

Intimate parts include the breast, groin, buttock, inner thigh, or primary genital area of an individual.

Sexual penetration includes not only sexual intercourse, but any intrusion by an object or other body part into an opening (genital, anal) and also includes anal intercourse, fellatio, and cunnilingus.

Sexual contact is defined as deliberate touching of someone else’s intimate parts as defined above, regardless of whether those intimate parts are clothed or unclothed.

First- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct (or sexual assault) involves penetration, which second- and fourth-degree CSC (sexual assault) involves only sexual contact.
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According to Branch County Circuit Court Judge Boll O’Grady who made his 2015 annual report branch county and coldwater, mibefore the Branch County Commission recently regarding criminal cases in Coldwater, MI, cases involving criminal sexual conduct have increased significantly while the total number of criminal cases remain steady.  Heroin cases have also increased, according to the judge.

In the state of Michigan, criminal sexual conduct (CSC) is any type of sexual assault and varies in degree.  The most serious criminal charge is first-degree criminal sexual conduct, which involves penetration.  The degrees of CSC include first-, second-, third-, and fourth-degree.  Depending on degree and the circumstances of the case, a conviction may result in life in state prison or life in prison without parole for the most serious offenders, to two years in state prison for offenders considered less dangerous.  Those convicted also face sex offender registration and other sanctions.  Essentially, in Michigan a CSC charge can be more serious than homicide as the penalties are extremely harsh.
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Ivan N. was 17 years old when he admitted that he had touched his 7-year-old adoptive sister (referred to  girl with teddy bearas the “victim”) by using his penis and hands to touch her genital area numerous times over the period of approximately one year.  At 17, Ivan N. was considered a minor; his adoptive parents learned of the sexual abuse (molestation) due to an incident that occurred in the home.  In April of 2015, Ivan N. was arrested and charged with two counts of committing a lewd act on a minor under the age of 14; he was arraigned and confined at juvenile hall.

The court dismissed one count after Ivan admitted to one count in May of 2015.  He admitted that he molested the victim to get back at his parents, and apologized during an interview for his conduct.  Ivan was referred to an outpatient or residential facility following a psychological evaluation, a facility offering therapy and programming for treatment of adolescent male sex offenders.  It was determined that Ivan was a person described by section 602 who was subject to probation.  The probation department prepared a social study, which recommended Ivan, could receive appropriate treatment at a CBO (community based organization).
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Dating violence is far more common than most of us think, and often involvessexual assault sexual assault or “rape.”  Whether a couple has been dating for a year or it is a first date makes no difference.  A forced sexual act without the consent of the other person is unlawful, and could result in criminal charges if the alleged victim decides to come forth and report it to law enforcement.  Dating violence in Michigan as well as other states knows no boundaries in terms of age; sexual assault can happen to someone who’s 13, 18, 40, 60, or even older.

In some cases of sexual assault a victim may have been drugged with a “date rape” drug such as Rohypnol, a powerful sedative.  In other cases, those involved in a dating relationship may have engaged in drug activity, drinking alcohol, or other substances that can impair a person’s ability to think rationally.  In many cases of dating violence involving sexual assault, there are no outside factors – it’s simply a case of one person wanting to engage in sex, while the other person doesn’t.  When one party does not consent or give permission to engage in sex (regardless of whether the non-consenting person is male or female), he or she may be the victim of sexual assault or rape.
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Human trafficking is a crime that unfortunately happens around thegirl-human-trafficking globe, and not just in the U.S.  Not only are women often exploited, men and children often become victims as well.  Age isn’t a factor, as unscrupulous people who gain financially from the abuse of those who are vulnerable may sexually exploit people of all ages.  In 2015, a CNN documentary titled “Children for Sale:  The Fight to End Human Trafficking” revealed that human trafficking is a growing epidemic not only in our country, but Atlanta, GA in particular.  The world of sexual human trafficking is an extremely dangerous one, and unfortunately this is the world of many victims.  Thankfully, there are compassionate people all around the world who are working to put an end to this atrocious epidemic.

A form of modern day slavery, human trafficking involves for the most part women and children who are forced into working in the sex trade by criminals.  According to Polarisproject.org, there are more people in slavery in our modern day society than existed during the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.  How can we help bring an end to the abuse and exploitation of innocent individuals who are essentially “used” for the sexual satisfaction of others, along with the financial gain of criminals?
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Most people who think of sex offenders automatically believe a male is the perpetrator. The fact is, the incidence of sexual violence or assault involving women who are the offenders is growing. While the tendency to commit sexual crimes can emerge in adolescence, many offenses involving teens or adults go unreported, regardless of whether the alleged offender is male or female.

Approximately 9% of youths report they were the victims of some form of sexual violence in a Growing Up With Media national study in 2010 in which information was collected online. The acts committed against these youths included coercive sex, forced sexual contact, attempted rape, and completed rape. Interestingly, the results of the study found that while males were more likely to commit a sex-related offense against a younger victim, offenses in which females were the perpetrators most often involved victims who were older. Additionally, the study concluded that males tend to commit sexual violence at an earlier age than females, which may suggest different developmental courses.

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From gathering evidence illegally to not gathering evidence which could potentially support a client’s files-sorainnocence when accused of a sex crime, there are many mistakes made in the obtaining/handling of evidence.  Unfortunately, innocent individuals are wrongfully convicted of sex crimes every day.  This may be due to improper forensic science, misconduct by police or prosecutors, mistaken identity, deceit, or even the fact the accused was represented by a defense attorney who was simply ineffective.  In some instances, those accused even confess to crimes they didn’t commit due to intense interrogation by police – they “fold” under pressure.

Sex crimes attorneys often challenge the case brought by prosecutors by confronting the forensic and physical evidence (or lack thereof) presented against the accused.  It’s important to keep in mind that scientific evidence is only as good as its collection and analysis, so there are questions that need to be asked.  Some of these include:

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