31-year-old Gabriel Richello of Saginaw pleaded no contest to nine felonies on Monday, July 22 before Saginaw County Circuit Judge Darnell Jackson; he is now headed to prison. Richello allegedly sexually assaulted a 6-year-old girl over a span of five months, according to a news article at Mlive.com.
Richello pleaded no contest to two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, and seven counts of second-degree CSC against someone under the age of 13. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss two counts of first-degree CSC against someone under the age of 13 in exchange for Richello’s plea.
Sentencing guidelines were not disclosed, however James Piazza, Richello’s attorney, stated that it is likely prosecutors will request that the judge hand down a minimum sentence at the high end of his client’s state sentencing guidelines. Richello was initially charged with six counts of first-degree CSC and six counts of second-degree CSC against someone under the age of 13. News reports indicate the sexual assaults took place in Saginaw between September of 2012 and January of this year.
Elements of first-degree criminal sexual conduct include penetration, however this charge could not be established due to the young girl’s inability to understand some of the specific legal terms used during her testimony according to Jennifer Barnes, Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor.
A sentencing date for Richello is pending; both second- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Richello currently remains in jail on a $900,000 bond.
Michigan sex crime lawyers work vigorously to protect their clients’ legal rights and freedom. Penalties for these types of criminal offenses are extremely harsh; often in cases where physical evidence is lacking, innocent people end up behind bars.
Individuals who have been accused of sexual assault, rape, possession of child pornographic materials or other related offenses must seek out the legal support and guidance of a skilled Michigan sex crime attorney immediately. Time is of the essence in these matters; your freedom and future are at risk.