Barry County Youth Director Charged With Criminal Sexual Conduct

Kalamazoo news reports that a 32-year-old man from Bellevue, Michael Terpening, has been charged with eleven sex crime counts including indecent exposure and criminal sexual conduct as the result of alleged incidents that took place at a facility for troubled teens. The alleged victims are all former residents of Earth Services Youth Home – located just outside Barry County, about 10-miles from Battle Creek – where Terpening serves as a facility director.

Criminal sexual misconduct charges – especially ones involving youth – are some of the most serious sex crimes offenses. If you are facing any sex crimes charges it is crucial to act immediately to contact an aggressive and experienced Michigan sex crimes defense attorney. Retaining a dedicated Michigan sex crimes firm is necessary to protect your future and your reputation. Often individuals charged with these types of crimes are presumed guilty in the media before they have a chance to present their criminal defense.

Terpening was originally charged with nine sex crimes charges, but this was changed to eleven as two more alleged victims have come forward. Now the counts include two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, five counts of fourth degree criminal sexual conduct. Criminal sexual conduct third-degree is sometimes referred to by lay people as statutory rape. Criminal sexual conduct fourth degree involves touching of a sexual nature of an intimate body part without penetration. Terpening is also charged with one count of assault to commit sexual penetration and three counts of aggravated indecent exposure. Sexual assault is generally charged as a type of criminal sexual conduct with the specific charges and penalties depending on the facts allege and prosecutorial discretion. Aggravated indecent exposure is a serious crime. While indecent exposure is generally a misdemeanor, where the count is considered aggravated, such as if the person is fondling himself or herself, or is a sexually delinquent person, the potential penalties increase significantly and may include a lengthy prison term.

An aggressive Michigan sex crimes defense lawyer can advise you of your rights and explain the consequences of each sex crimes charge on your future and your freedom.


All of the alleged incidents took place at Earth Services, a nonprofit agency dedicated to animal rescue and teen safe haven. If convicted Terpening faces some of the harshest penalties enacted for sex crimes.

These penalties include:

• Stiff fines
• Probable prison sentence
• Registration on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry

Unfortunately in Michigan, many people are falsely accused and wrongfully charged because under the law charges can be filed based only on allegations. Individuals may be convicted of criminal sexual conduct and assault without any physical evidence. Here, it is unknown what evidence exists. Additionally cases such as these tend to snowball, with more and more alleged victims coming forward before the real facts are known. It is critical to have an aggressive Michigan criminal sexual conduct law firm step in on an individual’s behalf to begin fighting back as soon as possible to challenge accusations and point out flaws in law enforcement’s case.

At Grabel & Associates, we understand that the most important thing is protecting your freedom and your future and are dedicated to keeping you out of jail and keeping your name off the sex crimes registry. For more information or if you or a loved one is facing any type of Michigan sex crimes offense, please contact the aggressive Michigan sex crimes defense lawyers at Grabel & Associates for immediate attention.