In January of this year, then 19-year-old Scott Buning of Alba was charged with harboring runaway children. According to news articles at UpNorthLive.com, Buning spent time with two girls in 2012 who were 11 and 15 at the time. Prosecutors charged Buning with two misdemeanor counts, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and harboring a runaway. At the time, authorities did not believe the defendant engaged in a sexual relationship with either of the two girls.
Now Buning, who has since turned 20, is facing multiple sex charges after police allege Buning assaulted a 12-year-old girl, although officials would not reveal if the two cases are related. Kalkaska County prosecutors charged Buning two weeks ago with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, and five counts of first-degree CSC. News reports indicate he is also facing charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Antrim County. Buning was scheduled to appear in court on October 8, and was being held on a $2 million bond at the Kalkaska County Jail.
Buning faced up to one year in jail for the misdemeanor charges of harboring a runaway and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Now, if convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, he will face up to life in prison.
First-degree CSC is the most serious sexual offense an individual can be accused of; like the crime of murder, it carries the harshest penalties possible under Michigan law. However, accusations of sexual assault do not mean the defendant is guilty, or will be convicted. Under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, every individual has the right to a fair trial. Until proven guilty, a defendant is innocent. It is critical to secure the legal guidance and representation of a seasoned Michigan sex crime attorney with experience in these very serious cases in order to reach positive results.
Prison time is not the only punishment those convicted of a sex crime face. In many cases the defendant is required to register as a sex offender for life. While it may sound like no big deal in comparison to spending time behind bars, it is. Being a registered sex offender will affect your reputation, make securing employment difficult, and even dictate where you can or cannot live. The social stigma will follow you everywhere you go, for the rest of your life. Consult with a criminal defense lawyer who has a positive track record in defending those accused of sex-related offenses immediately.