Matthew Parsons, a 48-year-old former Farmington Hills police officer who worked in law enforcement for 20 years, is now facing up to 7 years in prison after pleading guilty to possession of child sexually abusive material, using a computer to commit a crime, and recording an unclothed person. Parsons was initially charged with 13 counts of sex related crimes, however 10 of the charges were dropped in a deal made with the Attorney General’s Office according to news reports. Parsons is required to register as a sex offender for 15 years as part of his plea agreement.

Parsons is accused of using a camera disguised as a clock to photograph a friend’s 20-year-old daughter and possession of child pornography. He has requested his sentence be no longer than 12 months, and while his defense lawyer claims Parsons has mental health issues, the defendant said this is no excuse for his actions. Parsons said that any sentence beyond 12 months would prevent him from seeking the help he agrees he needs for his mental issues, and pleaded with the court to help him move forward. He expressed remorse before Judge Nanci Grant handed down his sentence in Oakland County Circuit Court.

At the time Parsons allegedly hung a camera in the bathroom of a friend’s home, he was renting the basement of the home. Farmington Hills Police Chief Chuck Nebus said that while Parsons was on the job at the police department, no crimes were committed. Nebus went on to say that the department worked hand-in-hand with the attorney general’s investigation, and fully cooperated.

Recently, 73-year-old Harry Morel Jr., a 33-year veteran prosecutor in St. Charles Parish in justiceLouisiana, was sentenced to three years in prison for allegedly trading sex for leniency in cases he prosecuted.  Federal authorities investigated the case for three years before Morel eventually pleaded guilty in April of this year.

Authorities claim Morel is a ‘sexual predator’ who engaged in sexual misconduct for about 20 years with at least 20 difference women, according to the Times-Picayune.  News reports reveal that one woman who was facing a DUI charge helped build a case against Morel, an extremely popular man who had been elected as St. Charles Parish’s district attorney for more than 30 years.  Even though Morel is accused of giving women charged with crimes favorable treatment in exchange for sex, he hasn’t been charged with any sex crimes, and has been disbarred as he is scheduled to begin serving his prison sentence on September 26.
Continue reading

It’s no secret today that many individuals are convicted of sex crimes they did not commit. Unfortunately, unlike with other crimes those found guilty of rape, child pornography, sexual assault, and other offenses don’t only face punishment in the form of jail or prison time, probation, etc. They also face undeserved special attention in the form of being labeled a sex offender. This is extreme punishment when an innocent person has been found guilty of a sex crime, as sex offender status not only destroys a person’s reputation, it also impacts employment and housing opportunities, and much more. With sex crimes, those who are wrongfully convicted certainly face punishment that does not “fit the crime.” file451297827287

How does this even happen? How can someone who is completely innocent of the crime he or she is accused of be found guilty? While it can happen with any type of crime, it is particularly easy for someone who’s innocent to be convicted of a sex crime. If you’re reading this article, be aware it could even happen to you, although it seems impossible – others who are locked behind bars today probably thought the same exact thing.

In every state including Michigan, the penalties for those convicted of a sex crime are extremely harsh. The unfortunate truth is that about a quarter of reported sexual attacks are false. Even with a lack of physical evidence, many prosecutors secure convictions because of juries who may feel sympathetic toward the “alleged” victim. Considering the details of these reported “crimes” are often horrific in nature, it sometimes isn’t difficult for a judge or jury to be convinced the victim is telling the truth – even if the story is fabricated.

Stuart Dunnings III, the former prosecutor for Ingham County who served for nearly 20 yearsstuart dunnings iii and began his career as prosecutor in 1997, has pleaded guilty to two charges after 13 of the charges involving patronage of prostitutes over a five year period were dropped in a plea deal.

Initially, Dunnings faced 10 counts of engaging in prostitution, four counts of willful neglect of duty, and a single count of pandering prostitution.  According to witness statements, Dunnings paid for YMCA memberships, rent, methadone treatments, and other things in exchange for sex.

While he was Ingham County prosecutor, Dunnings was allegedly soliciting sex with prostitutes while at the same time publicly attacking human trafficking.  Now, according to Michigan AG Bill Schuette, Dunnings has pleaded guilty to a single felony misconduct in office charge, and one misdemeanor count of soliciting a prostitute.
Continue reading

According to federal campus safety data, in 2014 the colleges and universities with the highest number of rapes on campus were the University of Connecticut and Brown University, a private Ivy League university in Providence, RI. However, sexual assault among college students (whether on or off campus) is a growing problem around the nation. 1195993_learn_english_1

A survey involving 150,000+ students at 27 universities conducted by the Association of American Universities revealed some very disturbing numbers. What’s not surprising is that in many cases, unwanted sexual contact or even rape occurs when students are under the influence of drugs or alcohol – in other words, incapacitated.

The survey found that 23% of female college students who participated said they had been the victims of unwanted sexual contact, whether it be kissing or touching, or even rape. Almost 11% claimed they were forced into unwanted oral sex or penetration.

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.
Continue reading

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.
Continue reading