Articles Posted in Criminal Sexual Conduct

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, 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.

On Sunday morning November 16, Eli Bronson Burdette was arraigned on sexual assault charges after he allegedly assaulted a woman on Friday night at the Peninsular Place apartments in Ypsilanti, according to a news article at

Burdette, who is a track athlete at Eastern Michigan University, has been charged with one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of first-degree CSC, which involve penetration. Police were notified of the sexual assault on Saturday morning, after the alleged victim was able to leave her apartment. She alleges that following the sexual assault she was prevented from leaving her apartment, but once Burdette left, she notified police.

Burdette lives in the same apartment complex as the victim; he was arrested without incident. Police reports indicated that the sexual assault took place sometime between 11:30 p.m. Friday evening and 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

Last month, we wrote about David Harold Fricke, a 38-year-old Kent County man who had been charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct in the alleged sexual assault of a 9-year-old girl in November of 2013. Now, Fricke has pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a move that will not only prevent the young victim from having to testify, but likely result in reduced prison time for Fricke.

According to a news article at, Fricke initially told police that the girl was responsible for the sexual contact, and that she approached him while he was taking a shower. Now, he admits that he initiated the contact with the girl, touching her breasts and buttocks at his home. Had Fricke gone to trial and been convicted of first-degree CSC, he would have faced a minimum of 25 years in prison. Now, he will face up to 15 years in prison.

While the alleged victim claims there were four occasions on which she was assaulted, no more charges will be filed according to Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Robin Esslinger, as it was agreed as part of the plea deal that no additional charges would be filed in connection with this victim.

Recently, a 63-year-old Flint man whose name has not been revealed as he is awaiting arraignment was charged with 18 counts of criminal sexual conduct and child pornography. The man, who was arrested in Kentucky, is being extradited back to Genesee County for court proceedings, according to news reports. At the time, it was not known if the suspect would fight the extradition.

A warrant for the man’s arrest was authorized by the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office in late September, according to Prosecutor David Leyton.

The man is charged in all with 18 counts including two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, seven counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, and nine counts which are related to the manufacture, possession, and distribution of child pornography. Charges were filed after one of the alleged victims told a family member about the abuse, which occurred in Flint. Apparently, the alleged victim told her cousin about the abuse which led to further family discussion about the matter.

On Wednesday, October 8, a single charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against Thomas Burchfield of Albion was dismissed, according to a news article at Burchfield claims to be a minister at the Greater Bible Way Temple in Jackson, although detectives said that the church’s website does not list him as such.

Charges were dismissed because the 7-year-old alleged victim refused to testify at a preliminary exam last week while the defendant and his family were in the courtroom. Burchfield was charged with first-degree CSC in September; prosecutor’s intend to re-issue charges against the defendant after requesting the judge place Burchfield behind a screen and close the courtroom to observers during the girl’s testimony.

Burchfield was accused of sexually assaulting the victim as he babysat her at an apartment complex in late June of this year. A police report indicates that the girl was combing Burchfield’s hair as he sat in front of the television. Burchfield stated in an interview with police that he repositioned the girl while she was sitting in his lap so that she was on his right knee, but that he did not touch her purposely in an inappropriate manner.

Last week, 30-year-old Timothy Solloway of Dowagiac was found guilty of sexually molesting a child less than 10 years old, according to a news article at Solloway had prior sex offenses and was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

According to Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz, Solloway was also convicted on two counts of sex offender registry violations. Because of the victim’s age, the minimum mandatory sentence for his first-degree CSC conviction is 25 years. The maximum punishment for this offense is life in prison.

Solloway has been required to register as a sex offender since he was convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2001. The victim was allegedly assaulted by Solloway at his residence in July of last year. Fitz’s statement also indicated that the child’s mother took the child to a local hospital, where it was found by a nurse that injuries, including abrasions and tears, were indicative of sexual assault. Fitz said that the child indicated that the defendant threatened harm if the child told anyone about the incident.

Recently, 48-year-old Emil M. Sporcic Jr. of Oakland was charged with allegedly sexually assaulting two young boys who are now teenagers in various locations in Saginaw County.

According to a news article at, the sexual assaults took place beginning in January of 2010 and continuing to August of this year. Sporcic has been charged with five counts each of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and third-degree criminal sexual conduct by force or coercion.

A not guilty plea was entered by Saginaw County District Judge A.T. Frank at Sporcic’s arraignment on September 18. He was ordered held without bond, and remains in jail. Last week Sporcic waived his right to a preliminary hearing before District Judge M.T. Thompson. A new hearing date has not yet been scheduled.

While first-degree criminal sexual conduct is the most serious charge for a sexual offense and involves penetration, third-degree CSC also involves penetration. A conviction for first-degree CSC may result in a life prison term, while third-degree criminal sexual conduct carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

The allegations against the defendant in this case are extremely serious; if found guilty, Sporcic may be sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars. Depending on the facts of the case and the evidence, his defense lawyer may advise him that working out a plea agreement with prosecutors may result in a more favorable outcome. However, if Sporcic is innocent of the charges leveled against him, it may be better to go to trial and prove his innocence in order to avoid criminal penalties and the requirement to register as a sex offender.

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On Friday, September 5, retired Flint Police Sgt. Lawrence Woods was arraigned on 16 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Since that time, two more individuals have come forward with similar allegations, according to a news article at As of yesterday, Flint Police were interviewing the alleged victims, according to Sgt. Karl Petrich.

The 16 counts Woods was arraigned on last week pertain to two alleged victims who were minors at the time they were assaulted during a time period beginning in 1996 and ending in 1999. Woods’ attorney, Frank Manley, said that in cases that are old such as this one and also high profile, there are questions to be answered. Considering the allegations are concerning something that allegedly happened beginning 18 years ago, it becomes suspect.

Petrich said that investigators found substantial evidence in a raid of the homes Woods had stayed at or lived in, including hundreds of photographs depicting child pornography which were not downloaded from the Internet. Petrich maintains that the photographs of victims were taken at a local hotel room and Woods’ apartment. He also said that it was believed Woods sexually assaulted the victims while he was on duty, using his position of authority over the children.

To date, four alleged victims have come forward, but Petrich believes there may be many more. First-degree criminal sexual conduct involving children results in a sentence of 25 years to life in prison for those convicted.

As all Michigan sex crime attorneys are aware, old cases such as this one truly are suspect. Why do victims wait for nearly 20 years to come forward? After this many years, gathering concrete evidence is nearly impossible. In some situations, people may fabricate stories in an effort to get publicity, or even money from the alleged offender. We will see how this plays out in the coming weeks and months.

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On July 29, 23-year-old Willus L. Williamson allegedly raped and robbed a woman near his East Side Saginaw home, according to news reports at In all, Williamson has been charged with seven felonies including three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct causing personal injury, and one count each of unarmed robbery, unlawful imprisonment, assault by strangulation, and second-degree CSC causing personal injury. 

News reports indicate the crimes occurred about a block away from Williamson’s home, and that he took the victim’s clothing, cigarettes, lighter, and driver’s license. A statute which was made effective in April 2013 defines assault by strangulation as, “intentionally impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person.”

If found guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, Williamson may face a maximum term of life in prison, as first-degree CSC involves penetration. The defendant may also face up to 15 years on the imprisonment and second-degree robbery charges. Williamson pleaded not guilty and is currently held on a $700,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 15.

While all of the charges leveled against Williamson are serious, first-degree CSC is the most serious of all, as it could leave him facing the rest of his life behind bars if found guilty. It is too soon to tell at this point, but Williamson’s defense attorney may choose to discuss the possibility with his client of working a plea deal with prosecutors, particularly if the evidence against Williamson is solid. In most cases, pleading down to a lesser offense will result in less serious criminal penalties. However, if Mr. Williamson is indeed innocent, the case will likely go to trial.

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Michael E. Flores, a 28-year-old Saginaw man, was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a girl who was under the age of 13 in August of last year. Flores was initially charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and now one count of second-degree CSC has been added.

In July, a not guilty plea was entered by Saginaw County District Judge M.T. Thompson on Flores’ behalf. He was ordered held in custody on a $150,000 bond. At his preliminary hearing on August 1, a judge ruled that prosecutors in the case demonstrated probable cause to take Flores to trial in Circuit Court.

If Flores goes to trial and is found guilty, he will spend a minimum of 25 years in prison. In Michigan, first-degree criminal sexual conduct carries a maximum penalty of life in prison; however, when the victim is younger than 13 years of age at the time of the assault, the minimum sentence is 25 years. This means that if Flores is found guilty, he will likely be in his mid 50’s before he has any chance of being released from prison – but he could be sentenced to life. Continue reading

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