On Monday, September 1, a female student at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield was allegedly sexually assaulted after a man broke into her home on Berkeley Road, according to news reports at the Connecticut Post.
The woman, who lives with several roommates who were not home at the time of the incident, described the man who she says attacked her as short and stocky, 5 feet 6 inches tall or shorter, with dark, spiked hair. She said that he had a Spanish accent, and she believed him to be in his 20’s. The victim required treatment at an area hospital for physical injuries she suffered during the sexual assault.
The alleged victim told police that she did not see or hear a vehicle leave her home when her attacker fled. Law enforcement is requesting the public’s help in identifying the suspect, and have released a sketch artist’s rendition of what he may look like.
In the state of Michigan, sexual assault, often referred to as rape, includes any sexual contact that is not consented to by a victim, whether the assault involves penetration or other forced sexual contact such as touching private areas including the breasts, buttocks, groin, or genital area. Sexual assault is generally charged as criminal sexual conduct in the state, and there are four degrees ranging from the most serious, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, to the least serious, fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.
While the news article does not specifically say that the female student was raped, we will assume she was for the purpose of this article. In Michigan, first-degree criminal sexual conduct involves forced penetration, and will leave the accused facing a maximum term of life in prison if found guilty. This is the same sentence often given to people who are convicted of murder in Michigan.
As you can see, the criminal penalties for sexual assault in the state are extremely harsh. In situations where an individual pleads guilty or no contest to a charge of sexual assault that does not involve penetration, he or she may be sentenced to a couple of years in prison. While this seems far less serious, the most unsettling aspect of being found guilty for most people is being labeled a sex offender and having to register with Michigan’s sex offender registry.
Regardless of how serious the crime is you have been accused of, speak with an experienced Michigan sex crimes attorney immediately. You must have legal guidance and support to reach the best possible outcome in your case.