Articles Posted in Criminal Sexual Conduct

Original Case Details

A Marquette man was convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree for his alleged abuse of his 12-year-old then stepdaughter. The abuse allegedly began about a year after the minor moved from Indiana to Michigan to live with her mother and stepfather (the defendant). The abuse became more frequent and continued until the girl was approximately 15 years old. The defendant subsequently divorced from the girl’s mother and moved on. The girl and her mother moved back to Indiana where the girl told her biological father about the abuse and informed local police, but no investigation resulted. She later confronted the defendant in a Facebook message regarding his sexual abuse. The defendant’s girlfriend saw the message and responded to the young girl asking about the alleged abuse. The girlfriend then contacted the stepdaughter of the defendant’s half-sister about the alleged abuse and learned that the defendant had also had sex with that girl when she was about 14 or 15 years old. The defendant was charged with abusing both girls and the trial court subsequently severed the cases so each case could be tried separately. The trial court, however, allowed “other acts” evidence to come in under Michigan Rules of Evidence (MRE) Rule 403, which resulted in testimony coming in from the other alleged victim at his trial, resulting in a conviction. It is important to note that these offenses were tried some 20 years after the alleged crimes. iStock_000011602905_Large-2-300x200

The Appeal

Original Case Details

A Lansing, MI man was convicted back in November 2018 of sexually assaulting a nine-year-old girl. He was convicted of first degree criminal sexual conduct, second degree criminal sexual conduct, and assault with intent to commit sexual penetration. He was sentenced to a minimum of 72 years in prison by Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who also presided over his jury trial. Prior to the trial, it was agreed that a support person could sit with the child while she testified about what the man allegedly did to her. All non-essential people were not allowed to be in the courtroom while she testified, and her testimony would be broadcast to a closed-circuit TV in another room to satisfy the defendant’s right to a public trial. Judge Aquilina also decided that due to the nature of the case and the girl having previously testified that she was suicidal, only the girl’s voice would be broadcast into the closed-circuit TV next door and not her face, so the judge blocked the cameras. Both the prosecutor and defense attorney objected to this decision, to which the judge overruled them and stated to appeal her if they were not satisfied. Essentially, the judge created an appeal issue for the defense which led to a direct appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Grabel04a-2-300x146

Court Of Appeals Decision

Original Case Details

A former Macomb County Jail doctor was charged with six counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct for trading candy and favors with female inmates for sexual contact. The doctor was accused of giving one female inmate M&M’s and chewing tobacco in exchange for sexual contact. Another female accused him of giving her prescription drugs and an extra mattress for her cell room bed for sexual contact as well. The doctor was accused of using his hands to touch and/or stimulate her pelvic and genital areas during a physical exam. He was also accused of placing his stethoscope on a female’s nipples and breasts and moving his hands into her pants touching her vagina. Another inmate accused him of taking a photo of her with his cellphone after assaulting her, with her shirt lifted and pants partially down. The doctor’s cell phone was seized and searched by the police and it allegedly had sexually explicit pictures and videos on it.

His defense argued that the women conspired against the jail doctor, who was still relatively newly hired at the time. The three women admitted to talking to each other at the Macomb County Jail but denied they ever made a scheme to get the doctor in trouble. He was later acquitted of five of the six charges by a jury. The jury deliberated over the course of two separate days for a total of about six hours. The doctor was later sentenced to one year in St. Clair County Jail, where he is currently still serving his sentence. iStock_000022895015_Full-2-300x200

In the era of the “MeToo” Movement and with the fear of COVID-19 spreading, we see that charges of rape (CSC) are on the rise in the state of Michigan. There are several reasons for the upswing in these charges. Overzealous prosecutions, the nuance of delayed reporting, more victims come forward, and an array of other issues all played a vital role in the amount of CSC allegations. One point that has been overlooked is Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). hand-cuffs-300x199

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a type of behavior disorder. It is mostly diagnosed in childhood. Children with ODD are uncooperative, rebellious, and hostile toward peers, parents, teachers, and other authority figures. They are more troubling to others than they are to themselves. ODD is typically diagnosed around early elementary school ages and stops being diagnosed around adolescence. Kids who have ODD have a well-established pattern of behavior problems. Symptoms include:

• Being unusually angry and irritable

Watching the news recently I saw that Michigan State University was fined $4.5 Million for failing to protect the victims in the Larry Nassar case and it got me thinking, I wonder what laws may be changed because of this? iStock_000011602905_Large-2-300x200

In June of 2019, the criminal case involving Larry Nassar prompted Michigan House Representatives to pass House Bill 4374. For those of you not familiar with the Larry Nassar case, Larry Nassar was a former sports doctor who was sentenced to a great deal of time in prison for numerous counts of criminal sexual conduct while working for Michigan State University and the United States Gymnastics team. Because of his actions while working for the university, House Bill 4374 was proposed and passed in the Michigan House of Representatives.

This bill amends Michigan Compiled Law (MCL 750.483a) to include “a person shall not use his or her professional position of authority over another person to prevent or attempt to prevent the person from reporting a crime listed in section 136b, 520b, 520c, 520d, 520e, or 520g, that is committed or attempted by another person.” By doing so the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by one year or a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.

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Larry Nassar

Today was a big day in the world of criminal law. A hero to many was convicted of a crime that the media focused on and the story is trending across Facebook and Twitter of Bill Cosby being deemed guilty of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. While many in the #MeToo movement are celebrating a victory, we have to take a step back and analyze just where the future of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) is heading and we have to ask if those accused are facing conviction before the complaint has even been drawn up? We will discuss 3 different situations and break down the concept with commentary and a study of the situation.

I: Bill Cosby

With a verdict of guilty in the Bill Cosby case, legal pundits across the country are faced with a decision of whether the outcome was one that was just or one that was the product of outrage on social media? The Cosby decision leads many to wonder if the famed comedian and actor was a victim of his own fame or someone that truly deserved the punishment that will be dealt out at sentencing. In any event, the Cosby decision is one that is filled with controversy and will have a profound affect the legal community. How the judicial system and social media will continue to co-exist is a matter of pure speculation but one that needs to be addressed and this article will attempt to do so.

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Photo Credit: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

There is no question that the “#MeToo” Movement has left a resounding mark on those in the criminal defense sector and the state of Michigan has come to the forefront with accusations of criminal assault on the rise. To review the Cosby case and to discuss the impact felt across the state of Michigan, we sat down with leaders in the criminal law sector to gather their thoughts on the issue.

In what looked like an impossible hurdle to climb, the law firm of Grabel and Associates shocked the state of Michigan by winning their second decision before the Michigan Supreme Court in less than a 3-week time span when the highest court of the state overturned the “People v. Alexander” decision that was rendered before the Michigan Court of Appeals (People v. Alexander, 2016 WL 5887900 [Red Flagged Michigan Court of Appeals decision]).

The case is one that has garnered an immense amount of controversy on social media and beyond. At trial, a jury found former Michigan State Police Officer Brian Alexander guilty of four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct but after that decision was rendered the defendant filed a motion for a new trial and evidentiary hearing based upon various allegations which included inconsistent testimony that was on the record at the preliminary hearing and new evidence that could’ve changed the outcome of the case. The trial court granted the motion and with it a new trial was ordered. The Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the trial court’s decision and now the Michigan Supreme Court weighed in by overturning the Appellate Court which leaves the legal community to ponder whether or not newly discovered evidence will grant a new trial? Grabel04a-2-300x146

Scott Grabel of Grabel and Associates was the lead counsel for the defense. Grabel spoke of the Supreme Court’s decision and weighed in on the law. Grabel was quoted as saying, “Whenever you are faced with a decision such as this, we have to turn to “People v. Cress” which lays out the elements that have to be proven (People v. Cress,  468 Mich 678, 664 NW2d 174 [2003]). The Cress court provides the blueprint and once that research is completed, it’s time to go to battle. Today, our Supreme Court voted in the favor of protecting the constitutional rights of not only Brian Alexander but anyone faced with similar circumstances and now he has a new chance at freedom. As a criminal defense attorney, the only thing that we can really ask is that our court system preserves the protections of our constitution. Today, I’m proud to say that was accomplished.”

Currently in the state of Michigan there are four degrees of CSC, or criminal sexual conduct, which a person who allegedly commits a sex-related crime may be charged with depending on various factors. These include first-, second-, third-, and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, with first-degree the most serious of all and leaving the defendant potentially facing life in prison if convicted. justice

Some Michigan lawmakers, including Representative Holly Hughes, are looking to change state law in an effort to not only protect children and families from sex offenses, but also to secure justice for victims who were allegedly sexually abused in the past, some decades ago. If a new bill sponsored by Hughes passes, it will result in additional prosecution of individuals who are allegedly sexual predators.

In 2001 the statute of limitations was eliminated by the legislature, however Hughes wants to make the law retroactive which would mean those who claim to have been sexually abused prior to that time could bring criminal charges against an alleged offender, even if the alleged crime took place decades ago. In essence, someone who claims to have been raped in 1970 could work with prosecutors to bring criminal charges nearly 50 years after the fact. If convicted, the offender could face a life prison term.

Recently it was reported that Grant Perry, a wide receiver for the University of Michigan football teamiStock_000011098721_Full-2-300x200 from Royal Oak was arrested after allegedly touching a woman in an inappropriate manner as Perry and the woman were in line waiting to enter an East Lansing bar.  The incident reportedly occurred on October 15.  Perry, who is 19 years old, was charged with a single count of underage drinking, two counts of criminal sexual conduct, and one count of assaulting, battering, resisting or obstructing an officer.

December 29th news reports reveal Perry denied that he sexually assault the woman.  The incident took place at a bar and restaurant locating in East Lansing, Lou & Harry’s, where witnesses said Perry and two other men tried to cut in line while approximately 20 or 25 others waited outside of the establishment.  One officer reported that after requesting Perry’s identification, he fumbled through his wallet and attempted to run away before he was apprehended and arrested by another officer.
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