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.