Robert Messer, a 37-year-old father of two, was recently charged with numerous counts of criminal sexual conduct in connection with a 15-year-old Plymouth girl who went missing in October. Messer, of Salem Township, is divorced from his wife, who testified at a probable cause hearing on Friday. Messer and the alleged victim, Emily Lalinsky, allegedly ran off together on a planned trip to Ann Arbor; the two were found together in a field near Messer’s home.
At his probable cause hearing, Messer’s ex-wife claimed that she told authorities last year that she suspected Messer and Lalinsky were involved in a romantic relationship. When the two did not return as planned from their trip to Ann Arbor, police began searching for them. This is when Messer and the victim were found in a field in Washtenaw County.
Messer was a friend of Lalinsky’s family, according to news reports. After seeing media reports regarding the missing teen, someone spotted the defendant’s truck, which was partially hidden behind a travel trailer. The person called 9-1-1, and police located the two, believing they had been in the field the entire time the girl had been reported missing.
Lalinsky’s mother, Lisa Schwartz, said that her daughter and Messer had often gone on day trips together, often taking pictures around the city. The two claimed to be in love, both leaving notes and apologizing for leaving suddenly.
Messer has been charged with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, four counts of third-degree CSC, and one count of accosting a child for immoral purposes. Lalinsky’s mother claimed that she never suspected there was anything untoward about the relationship, and that her daughter regarded Messer as a father figure. She felt that Messer’s ex-wife made the allegations in order to get custody of the two children she and Messer share.
If the case moves to trial and Messer is convicted, he could potentially face life in prison. First-degree CSC is the most serious of all sex offenses, and involves penetration.
If you have been falsely accused of sexual assault, rape, or any sex-related offense, it is critical to contact a qualified Michigan sex crime defense attorney at once. Without effective legal representation, the odds of reaching a good outcome are slim.