Articles Posted in Sex Crimes

Original Case Details

Michigan State University’s former President Lou Anna Simon was originally charged with four counts of lying to police. She was accused of lying to investigators about her knowledge about complaints involving former MSU sports medicine doctor Larry Nassar, who has since been convicted in multiple cases of sexually abusing hundreds of women. Eaton County District Court Judge Julie Reincke initially bound over Simon on the four charges, after finding that the prosecutor met their probable cause standard to continue the case to Circuit Court. The case was bound over to Eaton County Circuit Court Judge John Maurer, who upon review of the case, found that District Court Judge Reincke abused her discretion and ignored a lack of evidence in the case. Because of this finding, the case against Simon was then dismissed by Judge Maurer. The State of Michigan has appealed Maurer’s decision to dismiss to the Michigan Court of Appeals. iStock_000001983354_Large-2-300x200

State of Michigan Appeals to Reinstate Charges

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 Details

Back in 2011, the Obama administration made a directive demanding universities to improve their policies regarding sexual assault claims on campus. In an effort to empower and encourage victims to come forward in the event of a sexual assault, many changes were required of university policy and procedure in how to handle sexual assault complaints. One major change was to empower a single investigator who is a university employee or outside expert to do all of the interviews regarding everyone involved in a sexual assault complaint. This investigator would interview the accused, the accuser, and any other witnesses. This investigator then compiles the results of these interviews into reports and makes recommendations. This approach led to many complaints saying that the accused is not being afforded due process or a right to cross examine their accuser. Many lawsuits against universities were then filed by both survivors of sexual assault as well as men who were falsely accused. The common theme in these lawsuits is that the universities were not handling these cases properly and were not qualified to lead these types of investigations. An-Attorneys-Guide-to-a-Career-in-Law-Pic-300x200

The Changes Implemented

What Is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking as defined by the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force is a form of modern-day slavery. It is the containment and forcing of different types of labor of both adults and children. Women that are victims of human trafficking are often forced to work in sex trades like prostitution or strip club work, while men are more forced into jobs involving physical labor. It is a real problem where awareness has recently grown. This awareness has led to more arrests and a stronger dedication towards the goal of eradicating human trafficking. The statistics regarding human trafficking in the state of Michigan are both eye opening and tragic. sad-silhouette-1080946-m

Human Trafficking Statistics

The State of North Carolina like Michigan has what’s called a satellite-based monitoring as part of their arm of punishment for repeat sex offenders and other specific offenders. This is essentially a GPS tether that someone must wear every day for the rest of their lives, even if they have completed probation or parole and are not otherwise being supervised by the state. As such, the government has essentially “tagged” someone and will always have their whereabouts available to law enforcement. This tagging becomes automatic in North Carolina once it’s shown that the violator is a repeat offender. iStock_000000341623_Large-2-300x200

How did we even get here?

This issue was made possible when the United States Supreme Court ruled that satellite-based monitoring systems like the one in North Carolina constituted a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The court described the system as attaching an ankle monitor to a person’s body, without consent, for the purpose of tracking that individual’s movements. The court remanded the case and directed the lower court to determine whether the State of North Carolina’s satellite-based monitoring system was reasonable when viewed as a search subject to the protections of the Fourth Amendment.

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.

Recently, 19-year-old Brendan Baia, a former student at Central Michigan University, was accused of ‘sexting’ with a 12-year-old girl. According to reports, Baia and the girl had been exchanging messages and photos via their cell phones that were sexually explicit. Police claim to have discovered more than 122 Snapchat messages between the two during the last two weeks of August on the suspect’s computer and cell phone. courtroom-one-gavel-1_l-300x200

Police were contacted by the girl’s mother after she searched through the 12-year-old’s cell phone because her daughter had been acting depressed. Baia has been charged with three counts of committing a crime with a computer, accosting a minor for immoral purposes, distributing child sexually abusive material, and possessing child sexually abusive material.

Baia told the alleged victim’s mother that her daughter told him she would be turning 16 soon. As of September 15, the investigation into the allegations were ongoing; Baia is out on bond.

Recently, 73-year-old Harry Morel Jr., a 33-year veteran prosecutor in St. Charles Parish in justiceLouisiana, was sentenced to three years in prison for allegedly trading sex for leniency in cases he prosecuted.  Federal authorities investigated the case for three years before Morel eventually pleaded guilty in April of this year.

Authorities claim Morel is a ‘sexual predator’ who engaged in sexual misconduct for about 20 years with at least 20 difference women, according to the Times-Picayune.  News reports reveal that one woman who was facing a DUI charge helped build a case against Morel, an extremely popular man who had been elected as St. Charles Parish’s district attorney for more than 30 years.  Even though Morel is accused of giving women charged with crimes favorable treatment in exchange for sex, he hasn’t been charged with any sex crimes, and has been disbarred as he is scheduled to begin serving his prison sentence on September 26.
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