Recently, 65-year-old Michael Ray Gwilliams was arrested in Florida for the alleged sexual assault of a 9-year-old girl over a period of one year. According to a news article at Mlive.com, Gwilliams had been under investigation for the sexual assault for about one year prior to his arrest.
Gwilliams, a resident of Bloomingdale, reportedly fled to Silver Springs, FL upon learning that he was under investigation. Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office received a report alleging the victim had been sexually assaulted multiple times over a one-year period in October of last year. Authorities apprehended Gwilliams in Florida after issuing a felony arrest warrant before he could carry out his plan to flee to Colorado, according to a news release issued by the sheriff’s office. The suspect was brought back to Michigan on January 28, and arraigned on charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in the 7th District Court at South Haven.
Gwilliams was being held on a $5 million cash bond at the county jail at the time of news reports. He is charged as a habitual offender; if found guilty, he could face life in prison with no possibility of parole.
First-degree criminal sexual conduct is the most serious of all sex charges, and involves penetration. Individuals who are convicted of this offense may spend the rest of their lives behind bars. In cases involving a victim who is younger than 13, the mandatory minimum sentence is 25 years in prison. Considered a Tier 3 offense which is the highest level offender, those convicted will be required to register as a sex offender for life.
Sex-related crimes are a growing concern across the country, and while people are absolutely attacked and assaulted every day, there are countless cases in which innocent people are accused of crimes they did not commit. This is particularly troublesome when it comes to children, who may be coerced by adults into saying things or making accusations that are not true because the adult wants revenge or acts out of spite. Sadly, individuals who did not commit the terrible acts they are accused of sit behind bars today.
If you have been arrested or are under investigation for sexual assault, do not sit idly and allow your future to be determined by police or prosecutors. Work with a highly skilled Michigan sex crime attorney who will review the evidence, examine your legal options, and fight vigorously to obtain the most positive outcome possible.