On Monday September 16, 41-year-old Chad D. Winters of Bay City was sentenced to no more than one year in jail after pleading no contest to a single count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dismissed one count of third-degree CSC with a person between 13 and 15 years old, according to a news article at Mlive.com.
The alleged victim’s mother told the judge in the case that the defendant had “groomed” or brainwashed her daughter during the years she babysat the defendant’s children. The girl was approximately 12 years old when she began babysitting Winters’ children. When she was 15, the girl’s relationship with the defendant led to sexual relations, according to what she told investigators.
The girl’s mother told Bay County Circuit Judge Joseph K. Sheeran that she found it really hard that “this man that is 23 years older than my daughter, he was married at the time, has two children . . . had so much time to put effort to try to make my daughter feel special, to groom her, to brainwash her.” When given the opportunity to speak, Winters declined.
During the course of the investigation, police recovered pictures Winters drew for the victim, along with poems he wrote, jewelry, a jacket, two cell phones he provided, and other items. The girl’s mother said that she became physically ill after reading a script Winters wrote about the first sexual encounter between the defendant and her daughter.
The judge went outside the state sentencing guidelines in sentencing Winters to up to one year in jail for the crime, deviating from the zero to eleven months typically handed down in this situation. The victim’s mother said that Winters needs counseling, that he is a sick man, and that her daughter was not getting the justice she deserved.
Michigan sex crime attorneys realize that in cases where the defendant does not plead guilty or no contest, penalties for a conviction of third-degree criminal sexual conduct are more serious and may include up to 15 years in prison. In this case, the defendant was sentenced to up to one year in jail; however, the negative impact to his reputation, career, and perhaps even family relationships will likely far outweigh the criminal penalties.
If you have been accused of a sex crime involving a minor, it is critical to obtain the services of a skilled and capable Michigan sex crime defense lawyer right away.