Articles Posted in Statutory Rape

On Sunday October 25, two Fulton, MO men were arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl after giving her alcohol and drugs, according to a recent article at Fox 2 News.

The men, 42-year-old Brent Gibson and 26-year-old Lucas Pickering, have been charged with second-degree statutory rape, first-degree endangering the welfare of a child, possession of a controlled substance, and other offenses. The men reportedly raped the girl in a motel room in Kingdom City after injecting what the victim believed was methamphetamine into her arm.

An officer who interviewed the girl said that she had two needle puncture marks on her arm, consistent with her story that she was injected twice. Tests also revealed marijuana in the victim’s blood. She told investigators that both men raped her while she was awake, but incapacitated by the alcohol and drugs. A probable cause statement revealed that Pickering gave the victim meth that he snorted and smoked with her, and bought her alcohol.

On August 6 of this year, a minor male student who attended a Van Buren, Arkansas high school reported to police that he had been having a sexual relationship with 25-year-old Katherine Nicole Eskridge, a volleyball and physical education coach with the Van Buren School District. The relationship began in March, according to news reports at 5 News and Arkansas Online.

Eskridge reportedly turned herself in to police on September 2 on a warrant for first-degree sexual assault. The alleged victim reported that he and Eskridge had engaged in sex “at least 100 times,” and that they would have sexual relations at the coach’s Fort Smith home, as well as other areas including his own parents’ home and behind a mini-storage unit. The student told police that he was living with Eskridge in her home, and that the relationship had continued from March until early August. Eskridge resigned her position with the school district on August 15.

The minor student told investigators that he and Eskridge became friends after playing gaming app Trivia Crack. He decided to report the relationship after Eskridge stole some of his belongings, saying he had begun to feel guilty. He also reported the former coach left him at a McDonald’s the two had stopped at while enroute to Dallas, and that she had driven off with his wallet and other belongings after he was joking around about revealing their relationship.

A Pontiac girl who claimed she had sex with a 23-year-old man is believed to have been raped by a convicted sex offender. The girl, who is 13 years old, told her mother that she had sex with the man several times, the most recent incident occurring about one month ago. When the girl’s mother discovered the situation, she reported it to Oakland County sheriff’s deputies.

After receiving the call from the girl’s mother, deputies went to the suspect’s home. Deputies learned that the suspect is a convicted sex offender and that there were outstanding warrants against him for failing to register as a sex offender and felony probation violation. News reports at MLive state that reporters attempted to contact the Sheriff’s Department to inquire why the suspect had not already been taken into custody for the outstanding warrants, but failed to get a response at that time.

The suspect’s name was not revealed in reports, however he was arrested for suspected first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Michigan sex crimes lawyers know that individuals arrested and subsequently convicted on charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct face serious criminal penalties. This is the most serious of all criminal sex offenses, with individuals who are convicted facing possible life in prison. Additionally, a sex offender who fails to register is guilty of a felony offense that is punishable by up to four years in prison and/or fines of up to $2,000.

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Damon Raines, a 20-year-old Grand Rapids man, was sentenced to 15 to 60 years in prison after being convicted on charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. According to news reports, Raines pleaded guilty to the crime and was charged as a fourth-time habitual offender.

In a Kent County Circuit Court on November 13, Defense Attorney Valerie Foster explained to the judge that Raines and his almost 16-year-old alleged victim were only four years apart in age. Now, it seems that this slight age difference will leave Raines incarcerated for more than a decade of his young life.

Raines was arrested after a reported shooting in December of 2011; as police arrived on the scene at a home on Ridgebrook Drive SE, they learned that Raines had taken a 15-year-old runaway into his bedroom and allegedly had sex with the girl. It was during this time that Raines was showing the girl a Smith and Wesson revolver when it accidentally discharged, according to investigators. The girl suffered numerous injuries to her pancreas, liver, diaphragm and arms; Raines and two others drove the girl to Metro Health Hospital for treatment of her injuries.

Foster asked the judge to consider the action Raines took in saving the girl’s life, stating that in her mind, their relationship was something of a Romeo and Juliet, that it wasn’t like an older man and teen girl considering their ages.

Circuit Judge Donald Johnston said there were circumstances that could not be ignored in the sentencing of Raines, and spoke of the defendant’s current probation for possessing methamphetamine, as well as the fact that a 9 mm pistol, the Smith and Wesson revolver and a sawed-off shotgun were found in the home, along with marijuana and cocaine.

Raines, a young man who was 19 years old when the incident took place, believed that the runaway girl was 16 at the time, according to his mother. Although the sexual intercourse was consensual and Raines had given the girl a place to stay, his unfortunate mistakes will cost him a good portion of his life.

Michigan sex crimes attorneys know that young people often make horrible and life-changing mistakes such as this, having sexual relationships with those they believe to be of age. Sometimes the cost of young innocence is great, and young peoples’ lives ruined.

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A Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that new testimony may be heard in the sexual assault case of Lorinda Swain. Swain is seeking a new trial on sexual assault charges after being convicted by a jury in 2002 of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving her son. Criminal sexual conduct is a generic term referring to a group of sexual crimes including rape, sexual assault, statutory rape and child molestation. Each degree of criminal sexual conduct offense carries with it different penalties, with first degree being the most serious.

Since her conviction in 2002, Swain has sought to overturn her conviction after discovering new evidence not raised at trial. This past week, a three-judge panel found that lawyers from the University of Michigan’s Innocence Clinic should be allowed to present this additional evidence to Calhoun County Circuit Court Judge Conrad Sindt.

Sex crimes charges are serious, and a conviction for criminal sexual conduct can have a significant impact on your future and your freedom. If you have been charged with a Michigan sex crime, it is important to speak with an aggressive Michigan sex crimes defense attorney immediately to begin preparing your defense. Where you have been convicted of a sex crime, a Michigan sex crimes appeals attorney can determine whether appealable issues exists and review the trial record to ensure your side of the case was fully and effectively presented before the jury and weaknesses properly exposed.

Here, several issues were raised on appeal – including the discovery of new, exculpatory evidence.

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In a teen criminal sexual conduct case that has received national attention, the Quincy Board of Education met yesterday to determine whether a 17-year-old Quincy High School senior accused of statutory rape may continue playing on the varsity football teen. The 17-year-old has not been convicted of any sex crime.

Whenever an individual is under investigation for or accused of a sex crime, speaking to an aggressive Michigan sex crimes defense lawyer immediately is critical to protect your reputation and begin preparing a vigorous defense. Sex crimes charges often create a social stigma – stirring up communities and debate – even before the allegations have been investigated and you’ve had a chance to defend yourself. A knowledgeable sex crimes defense law firm can get to work right away to safeguard your rights.

Here, the youth was charge with third degree criminal sexual conduct, sometimes referred to as statutory rape. CSC 3rd degree involves some sort of penetration of the alleged victim, but is a lesser crime than 1st degree criminal sexual conduct (also referred to as rape) or 2d degree criminal sexual conduct. Although all the facts and circumstances of this case are unknown, teenage sex cases often involve harsh consequences and unjust results. Many times, the conduct of two teens involved in a consensual relationship turns into criminal sexual conduct charges where one of the teens is older than 16 and one is younger. Even if the person under 16 years of age says yes, if the partner is older, he or she may be charged with statutory rape. A conviction of statutory rape carries harsh consequences – up to 15 years in jail.

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Detroit News reports that a Wayne County judge has removed a man’s name from the sex crimes registry after he successfully petitioned the court. Kenneth Thornberry, now 26, went to prison in 2005 as the result of having consensual sex with his girlfriend of two years. He was 18 and she was 14-years-old at the time.

Under Michigan law, minors under the age of 16 cannot legally “consent” to having sex despite the fact that he or she may be a willing participant in the sexual activity. In fact, many incidents of alleged statutory rape occur in “Romeo/Juliet” type relationships, where teen boyfriends and girlfriends engage in sexual activity without any criminal intent to commit sexual assault. A charge of statutory rape is classified as criminal sexual conduct third degree and is a serious felony, carrying with it significant consequences if convicted.

If you or someone you love has been charged with statutory rape, it is critical to contact an experienced Michigan sex crimes defense attorney immediately to protect your future and begin preparing your defense.

Here, Thornberry was convicted of criminal sexual conduct and spent 6 years behind bars. His name was also placed on the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry. Having to register of the sex crimes registry can affect your everyday life and your future, potentially impacting where you live, work, go to school and the types of government programs you qualify for.

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Effective July 1, teenagers who have mutually agreed upon sex with a younger teen will no longer be automatically listed on Michigan’s sex crimes registry. However, in certain circumstances your teen may still face placement of his or her name on the list. This includes situations such as where the age difference between the teens is more than four years and if allegations exist that sex was coerced.

Previously, teens involved in so-called “Romeo and Juliet” relationships faced having their name listed on the registry for 25 years.

With the new sex crimes registry law in place, teens as well as adults whose names were placed on the list for teenage sexual relations may contact an experienced Michigan sex crimes defense lawyer to petition for removal and to clear their name.
The revised law is a welcome change. The intent of the registry was to advise the public concerning predators but has unfairly grown and expanded to include people whose actions may reflect questionable choices, but are not hardened criminals. Listing often has life-long negative consequences, affecting the direction of a one’s life. Having your name of the registry impacts where you live, your employment and even your choice of schools.

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A recent Grand Rapids investigation into just whose name is on the Michigan sex offender registry and whether those people are really predators revealed some disturbing statistics.

The Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry (PSOR), which is designed to inform the public about “sexual predators” in their neighborhood, places anyone who is convicted of a Michigan sex offense on the registry. Nearly 1900 names from Kent County alone are on the list. Once on the registry, a person’s name may be there for several years to life.

If you have been charged with any Michigan sex crime, it is crucial to contact an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer to provide a vigorous defense and keep your name off the list.

While some people who are the list could be considered “predators” and dangerous, many others are not. As stated in the Target 8 investigation “[w]ith few details about why a sex offender is on the list, it’s difficult to determine who might be a predator and who is not a danger.”

In fact, many youthful offenders’ names are placed on the list after having consensual sex with another teen. In one case, a 17 year old was convicted of statutory rape of a 15 year-old-girl who had consented to the encounter. His name will remain there for 25 years, well after completion of his 2-year probation sentence. He continues to suffer daily set backs as the result of his listing – including not being able to get into the military, not being able to find work, and not being able to be involved in after-school activities with his sons.

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A recent case involving a Central Michigan University student highlights the long-term and often unjust consequences of statutory rape and sexual misconduct laws on teens. News out of Saginaw and Mount Pleasant reports that a 19-year-old man from Isabella County’s Union Township faces a potential 4-year prison sentence after failing to notify law-enforcement that his name was on the Michigan sex offender list.

David Cheatham was forced to place his name of the sex offender registry when he was just 14 as the result of a conviction for second-degree criminal sexual conduct (sexual touching an intimate body part) with a person under the age of 13. The consequences of this one act, engaged in by a 14 year-old, continue to affect Cheatham’s daily life. Now, as a college student trying to improve his life and continue his education, he faces jail instead.

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