A 17-year-old teen has been acquitted by a jury on charges that he raped a 17-year-old girl whom he allegedly met on the website MeetMe.com. Jaqavice D. Grace was found not guilty on charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a weapon, however he was found guilty on other, lesser charges. The jury consisted of one man and 11 women.
Grace was charged with other offenses in addition including kidnapping, felonious assault, unlawful imprisonment, and interfering with electronic communication. He was acquitted of the kidnapping and felonious assault charges, but found guilty of unlawful imprisonment and an additional count of felonious assault, as well as the electronic communication interference charge.
According to a news report at Mlive.com, Grace and the alleged victim had become involved on social media sites including MeetMe.com and Snapchat. The victim testified in court that she met the defendant online, and that what began as a friendship grew into the exchange of conversation and photos that included sexual innuendo. Eventually, the girl and one of her friends picked up Grace after picking up two other male individuals they had met online.
The girl went on to say that all five went to a home in Saginaw where they smoked marijuana with other friends. Ultimately, Grace was ready to leave the party and the alleged victim and her friend went with him. After they got into the car, the girl said that Grace forced her into the back seat where he eventually raped her at gunpoint while her friend begged him to stop. Grace testified in his own defense that the sex was consensual. His defense attorney also claimed that Grace’s confession was coerced by police in a four-hour interview.
Michigan sex crime defense lawyers know the intense interrogation defendants often undergo when being questioned by police. Additionally, while it makes no difference under the law, alleged victims often consent to sexual relations with the defendant – or even are the aggressors themselves.
Several factors determine whether a person is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, including whether penetration occurred and the age of the victim. If penetration occurs and the accused individual uses force or coercion including threats or weapons, he or she may face first-degree CSC charges, the most serious of all sex charges in the state of Michigan. The punishment for a conviction includes a prison term of up to life in prison.
Allegations of a sex-related offense should be taken very seriously, as the consequences are great in terms of not only criminal penalties, but also the negative impact to an individual’s reputation, career, and other aspects of his or her life. If you have been accused of rape or another sex-related crime, contact an aggressive and skilled criminal defense attorney at once.