On Monday March 11, two men were sentenced in Saginaw County after allegedly engaging in sexual acts with a Heritage High School female student. Preston M. Walker Jr. and Deon L. Fleming, both 19 years old, were given jail time and probation. Circuit Judge Robert L. Kaczmarek sentenced Walker to three months in jail, and Fleming to nine months in jail. Both were given five years probation.
Fleming was charged with two counts of gross indecency, and Walker with one count of gross indecency. The charges against the men were reduced from third-degree criminal sexual conduct after both pleaded guilty to the charges against them in January. In Michigan, the maximum penalty for gross indecency between males and females is five years in prison.
The two men were arrested in December of 2011 when both were 17 years old after the alleged victim told police that the men had sexually assaulted the then 14-year-old girl on the school’s campus. At the time of the assault, the two defendants were also students at Heritage High School. Fleming and Walker were not held in jail during the time detectives continued their investigation.
In an April 2012 preliminary hearing, the female victim testified behind closed doors. The two men were scheduled for trial in January 2013, but failed to appear; however, the two defendants appeared for plea hearings two days later. Judge Kaczmarek did not issue bench warrants for the two men’s arrest, and continued a $15,000 bond for Fleming and $10,000 bond for Walker.
Both men have now been ordered to register as sex offenders; should either violate the terms of their probation, they could be sent to prison.
Michigan sex crimes attorneys understand the seriousness of sex-related offenses, and that those convicted often spend years or even life in prison depending on the circumstances. These two men were very lucky to be sentenced to a few months in jail and probation. All of those involved in this case were young students when this incident allegedly occurred; with teens, it is especially difficult to sentence those accused of a crime to a long prison term, as teens are typically not mentally mature and make mistakes without realizing the possible consequences of their actions.
If you have been accused of a crime that is sexual in nature, do not take it lightly. The criminal penalties are severe; you must consult with a skilled Michigan sex crimes lawyer right away.