On Wednesday, the high profile criminal sexual conduct trial of Cory Fritz began in Owendale, Mi.. Fritz is a former high school softball coach who is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old female player. He was 21 at the time. The Bay City Times reports that the two attended a Tim McGraw concert together in 2005 and, as described by the alleged victim, started a dating relationship, hanging out and watching movies together. According to the victim, the relationship eventually evolved into a sexual one.
In Michigan, the age of consent is 16. Thus, even where a dating relationship exists and your partner says yes, you can be charged with statutory rape if you are older than 16 and your partner is not. Statutory rape – also classified as criminal sexual conduct, third degree – is a serious felony that carries a prison term of up to 15 years and placement of your name on the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry.
Because of the widespread media attention and size of the town, it’s questionable whether it’s even possible to have a fair trial. More than half of the jurors interviewed had previous knowledge of the case, and many know one or both of the parties involved.
For more information about statutory rape, or if you or a loved one has been charged with criminal sexual misconduct, please contact Grabel & Associates, a Michigan law firm exclusively dedicated to sex crimes defense.