On Monday August 26, 33-year-old Ryan M. Castaneda pleaded guilty to three criminal charges involving the alleged sexual assault of two young girls. Castaneda pleaded guilty before Bay County Chief Circuit Judge Kenneth Schmidt to one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim 13 or older but younger than 16, and two counts of first-degree CSC with a relation.
In a January interview with Bay City police, Castaneda confessed to engaging in a sexual relationship over a number of years with a girl who claimed that Castaneda had molested her beginning at the age of 8; the girl is now 14 years old. Police said Castaneda initially denied any wrongdoing at the interview, but later gave the details of the sexual assaults. Castaneda said that the girl was 10 years old when the sexual contact began. Court records indicate that the detective who interviewed Castaneda informed him that he was free to leave at any time, and was not under arrest.
Castaneda was initially charged with an additional four counts of first-degree CSC, however those charges were dismissed by prosecutors in exchange for his guilty plea. Prosecutors also agreed not to exceed a 20 year minimum sentence. First-degree criminal sexual conduct is punishable by up to life in prison.
Another girl, who was a friend of the alleged victim in the above case, came forward following Castaneda’s January arraignment claiming sexual assault.
Castaneda is scheduled to be sentenced on October 21, and currently remains in custody at the Bay County Jail.
Individuals who are accused of any sex-related offense face harsh penalties if convicted. While the defendant in this case admitted guilt, there are many people who are wrongly accused of sexual assault, rape, and other related offenses. Not only do those accused often face years behind bars, their reputations and careers are often ruined in the process.
If you have been arrested or charged with sexual assault, child molestation, rape, or any related offense, do not hesitate before contacting a trusted Michigan sex crimes attorney.