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On Monday, May 18, a resident of Dickinson, TX was arrested and charged with sexual assault of a child, according to a news article at The Citizen, a Bay area publication. Dickinson is located near Galveston. 24259101_s

The suspect, 21-year-old Juan Antonio Contreras, was allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl in March of this year. When the girl’s parents learned of the relationship, they reported it to the police, who investigated the allegations and reviewed the case with the district attorney’s office in Galveston County last week before formally charging Contreras.

Investigators do not suspect there are any other victims. Contreras was jailed and his bond set at $15,000. The article states the punishment for a conviction of sexual assault of a child, which is a second-degree felony, is between two and 20 years in prison along with a $10,000 fine.

Keith Darrius Manders, a 20-year-old Grand Rapids resident, was recently charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct, assault with intent to commit sexual penetration, and first-degree home invasion in connection with a March 8 incident at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, according to news reports at Mlive.com. Police allege Manders was roaming the halls of the hotel in search of a victim to sexually assault. hotel-room-1073673-m

Police claim Manders was at the hotel at approximately 1 a.m. on the day in question, and that as he wandered the halls, he listened at the doors before choosing a room at which he would knock on the door. Grand Rapids Police Lt. Patrick Merrill said that when the woman in the room at which he knocked answered the door, Manders told her he needed toilet paper. He allegedly attacked her as she turned away from the door. Police say the woman was not injured, but that Manders groped her before she could break loose from him.

Merrill stated that it was unusual for an individual to roam the halls of the hotel without being stopped. While police believe Manders’ actions were deliberate and planned, they also believe he has mental health issues.

Manders is being held on a $500,000 bond in the Kent County Jail. He waived his March 18 probable cause hearing; his case has been forwarded to felony court. News reports indicate that if convicted, Manders will face up to 20 years in prison.

Sexual assault is a very serious charge; those convicted may face any number of years up to life in prison, depending on the specific offense they are accused of. Second-degree criminal sexual conduct does not involve penetration, so the criminal penalties will be less harsh than those for an individual convicted of first-degree CSC, a crime for which the maximum punishment is life behind bars.

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In August, a jury was deadlocked in the trial of two men who allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted a woman. Gary W. Sowa Jr. and Steven L. Jackson are accused of drugging a woman at the Dixie Motor Speedway in 2011 before kidnapping and sexually assaulting her. Sowa and Jackson have remained in jail since that time. the-last-drop-1083566-m

According to a news article at Mlive.com, the two men may remain in jail even longer as prosecutors in the case have decided to “streamline” it and are changing their strategy. Sowa, 38, and Jackson, 41, were scheduled to go on trial before Saginaw County Chief Circuit Judge Fred L. Borchard on February 11, however the trial has been postponed after prosecutors decided to dismiss 11 of the felony charges against the defendants.

Now, prosecutors intend to charge Sowa and Jackson with a single count of kidnapping and three counts of first-degree criminal conduct each, according to Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Barnes. Barnes said that prosecutors are simplifying the case for the jury this time around, as many jurors claimed after deliberating following the first trial that some of the charges were “confusing.”

The alleged victim was 40 at the time of the first trial. At issue is whether the sex between the woman and the two defendants was consensual. Barnes contends that the victim was raped after having been drugged by Sowa and Jackson, possibly with GHB. The defendants’ attorneys maintain that the alleged victim got drunk, had sex with the men, then regretted her decision.

Jackson and Sowa were initially charged with kidnapping, six counts each of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, unlawful imprisonment, and conspiring to commit each of the criminal offenses.

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On Monday November 25, a 14-year-old Niles Township girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by an unknown suspect. Berrien County sheriff’s deputies were in pursuit of the man and requesting the public’s help; he has now been apprehended in large part to social media according to various news reports. okel5MA.jpg

The alleged victim told authorities that she was walking near the intersection of Red Bud Trail on River Road when the suspect picked her up at approximately 4 p.m. She told police she did not know the man. The suspect, who was described as approximately 5′ 8″ to 5′ 10″ tall, 240 lbs., with brown eyes and brown hair allegedly sexually assaulted her at two different locations in Niles Township that evening.

Photographs of the suspect were released to the public; the images were captured of the man and his vehicle at a BP gas station in Buchanan prior to the alleged assault. The vehicle is described as a four-door Pontiac sedan, possibly a Bonneville or Grand Am which is blue or black in color believed to be a late 90s or early ’00s model.

Since the story first broke, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department announced they have captured and arrested the 25-year-old suspect. Authorities are crediting social media to helping them locate the Buchanan man, who was found the next day after the images were circulated on Facebook, according to WSJM.com. After allegedly assaulting the victim, the man dropped the girl off at a nearby mobile home park. The suspect has been charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct; his name is being withheld pending arraignment.

If convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, the man could face a life prison term. First-degree CSC is the most serious of all sex crime offenses, and involves penetration. Individuals who are convicted of sex crimes face not only harsh criminal penalties, but a lifetime stigma, ruined career and reputation, and more.

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Black male workers at Southgate Manor, a nursing home facility in Southgate, have been suspended after a woman living at the facility claimed she was raped by a black man on October 8th. At the time this news was released, the manager at Southgate did not have a statement.

President of Advantage Management Group Reginald Hartsfield stated to reporters that safety for residents is the top priority. He said that because the suspect was not positively identified at the time of the alleged rape, every black male that could potentially come in contact with the alleged victim had to be suspended from work. Hartsfield said that because the description was vague and basically only included the information that the suspect was a black male, all who fit that description were temporarily suspended with pay while investigations were being conducted.

Gary and Deadra Clemens, a brother and sister whose father is a resident at the manner were shocked at the suspension of the workers, saying it was, “very disrespectful against black people.” Deadra Clemens worked for the nursing home at one time. She said that it wasn’t right to suspend black male workers based on what one resident, who may have dementia or Alzheimer’s, said and that they have no proof the alleged crime occurred.

Gary Clemens agreed with his sister, and said that every black man should not be suspended and that they should do an investigation and find out who really did it. Hartsfield said that each employee will be brought back to work as he is ruled out as a suspect, and assured everyone that had it been a white man or even a woman, the same approach would have applied. Hartsfield is a black man, and said that he understood how the action the facility had taken sounds to some – but that he had to do what had to be done and comply with regulations.

As Michigan rape defense attorneys know, innocent people are frequently accused of committing these types of offenses. In a setting such as a nursing home where some residents do suffer from mental issues, it’s often hard to determine whether something a resident claimed happened is real or imagined without solid proof.

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Reanna Dawn Douglas, a 21-year-old former Lake Orion High School girl’s lacrosse coach and resident of Auburn Hills, was arrested on charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct on Thursday, October 18. News reports claim that the charges stem from an inappropriate sexual relationship Douglas allegedly had with a 15-year-old female on the team.

A release from the Oakland County sheriff’s office on Monday stated that Douglas was arraigned on the charge last week in Rochester Hills District Court, and given a $15,000 bond. Sheriff’s officials said they were notified in August of the inappropriate relationship by the family of the 15-year-old girl.

Douglas, who was under contract with the school, was fired after the district learned of the allegations against her. According to Douglas’s attorney John Freeman, there are no allegations of coercion or force, and his client is presumed innocent of the charges. At the time of news reports, it was unclear whether the alleged victim was a member of the lacrosse team.

Individuals who are convicted on third-degree criminal sexual conduct charges may face a lengthy prison sentence, which is why it is critical to consult with a skilled Michigan sex crimes defense lawyer. The conditions that must be met to be found guilty of this offense are quite complex; without the support and guidance of an experienced attorney, those convicted often face the harshest penalties that may apply in their situation.

In the state of Michigan, CSC 3rd degree is a very serious offense which carries severe penalties for those convicted. Even when it is a first offense, the individual may face up to 15 years in prison. Habitual offenders or those with a prior felony record often face increased penalties. Essentially, a conviction on charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct is a life changing event, as this offense is classified as a Tier III offense under the Michigan Sex Offender Registry unless the judge handing out the sentence considers it otherwise. A Tier III offense results in the offender being required to register as a sex offender for life.

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On Monday the Supreme Court ruled that inmates who are “sexually dangerous” may be detained after their prison terms are complete. In US v. Comstock, the Supreme Court determined by a 7-2 vote that federal officials may indefinitely hold inmates after they finish their prison term. In doing so, the Court reversed a lower court decision holding that Congress had overstepped its authority in allowing indefinite detentions, reasoning that it is a “necessary and proper” means of exercising federal law.

U.S. v. Comstock arises out of the actions of Graydon Comstock, a man was originally sentenced to three years in prison for possession of child pornography. With 6 days left to go in his sentence, he was declared “sexually dangerous” and the pursuant to the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, he was civilly committed to a federal prison.

Pursuant to the Adam Walsh Act, the US Attorney general has to authority to indefinitely detain those who have committed certain sex offenses if shown to be “sexually dangerous inmates.” The Act defines a person as sexually dangerous if he has “engaged or attempted to engage in sexually violent conduct or child molestation” and suffers from a “severe mental illness that would make it difficult to refrain from sexually violent conduct or child molestation if released.”

The Adam Walsh Act also establishes a national sex offender registry, increases punishments for some federal crimes against children and increases protections against child pornography.

Currently, 20 states – not including Michigan – around the country allow civil commitments of sex offenders beyond their prison terms – in theory for treatment and rehabilitation. It remains to be seen how this ruling will affect these controversial state programs which are costly, rarely lead to release and deny inmates protections of the criminal justice system.

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In the State of Michigan a person accused of a sex crime can be convicted based upon the allegations of the victim alone – even if false. The use of a polygraph examination given by a defense expert can often persuade a prosecutor not to bring charges in the first instance or to dismiss charges that have already been brought. A polygraph examination given by a defense expert is different in its objective than that of a polygraph given by the police. The police polygraph examiner seeks to extract a confession because he or she is taught to believe the truth of the allegations, whereas the defense expert focuses on specific issues surrounding the facts of the alleged sexual misconduct without any preconceived notions of guilt, which oftentimes leads to a more accurate test result as to whether an accused is telling the truth.

In addition, the law in Michigan specifically provides a person accused of committing certain sex crimes is entitled to a police polygraph examination upon request to allow the accused a mechanism to refute the allegations. However, before making any decision as to whether to undergo a polygraph examination of any kind, whether conducted by the police or a defense expert, the accused should consult with an attorney experienced in sex crimes cases to determine whether taking a police polygraph is advisable under the circumstances or whether a defense polygraph would be a better alternative. Moreover, the taking of a polygraph examination will not be advisable in every case, but the issue should be addressed as part of the general defense strategy in each sexual misconduct case.

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It seems these days that every teenager in Michigan owns a cellular telephone and most phones are equipped with a camera. These factors are a dangerous mix for the approximately twenty (20%) of teenagers, according to a recent survey, who send sexually explicit images via their cellular telephones. Teenagers naturally have a decreased sense of assessing the risk of engaging in certain behaviors and this behavior is one that appears to be increasing based upon the number of prosecutions that have occurred throughout the country. “Sexting” can be a violation of child pornography laws, which are felonies, and can lead to jail or prison time, and most often require registration on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry.

Michigan law as a general rule provides that child pornography, or child sexually abusive material, involves or includes the possession of images or other depictions of persons under the age of 18 that are sexual in nature. Laws dealing with child pornography are drafted in very broad terms to prohibit possession of images that may appear to be innocent but are nonetheless unlawful to possess. Parents with teenagers should be aware that “sexting” is illegal and can potentially have lifetime consequences. Parents should also advise their children of the potential consequences of such behavior. Taking a proactive approach to educating teenagers could save a whole lot of heartache and legal fees.

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