On Wednesday October 9, 17-year-old Thomas A. O’Brien of Midland pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person younger than 13. The victim alleges that she was assaulted by the defendant beginning in the summer of 2012 through December on at least three occasions. On August 13 of this year, authorities issued a warrant for O’Brien, who appeared voluntarily for his arraignment hearing.
O’Brien was initially charged with five counts of first-degree CSC and two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person younger than 13. In exchange for O’Brien’s guilty plea to two of the first-degree counts, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining counts. Court records indicate that O’Brien, who is a juvenile, agreed not to seek sentencing in juvenile court if prosecutors in the case agreed to recommend that he not serve time in prison. First-degree criminal sexual conduct is a lifetime offense in the state of Michigan. While defendants may serve any number of years when convicted, the maximum punishment is life in prison.
News reports at Mlive.com state that O’Brien will be required to pay restitution to the victim, although the amount has not been decided upon. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
The defendant had not been sentenced in Circuit Court as of Monday, and remained in jail on a $150,000 cash surety bond.
If the defendant ultimately avoids prison time in this case he will be a very lucky man. First-degree CSC is the most serious sex crime an individual can be accused of, with the harshest penalties of all for those convicted. As a 17-year-old, it is evident the teenage boy made a mistake he regrets. This is very common with teens, as even though it is against the law to engage in sexual activity with a minor, the situation often starts out with the agreement of both people involved. Now, O’Brien will be required to register as a sex offender which is serious punishment in itself considering the negative impact being known as a registered sex offender will have on his life.
Anyone who has been accused of any degree of criminal sexual conduct, rape, child pornography, or other sex offense should take action at once to protect your legal rights and freedom. Consult with a reputable and trusted Michigan sex crime defense lawyer.