In February of this year, 43-year-old Steven M. Berg of Saginaw Township was charged with four counts each of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with the repeated sexual assault of a young female relative. The alleged sexual assault took place between January 18 and February 18, according to news reports at Mlive.com.
On July 24, Berg declined Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Barnes’ offer to drop remaining charges if Berg would plead guilty to one first-degree CSC and two second-degree CSC counts. In the deal, Barnes also said she would not ask Saginaw County Circuit Judge James T. Borchard to remand Berg’s case back to District Court for a preliminary hearing regarding allegations of sexual assault involving two other girls. Because he declined the plea offer, he will now head back to District Court to possibly face additional sexual assault charges.
Barnes offered the plea deal to Berg on July 10, giving him two weeks to decide whether to plead guilty to three charges, or potentially face further charges related to sexual assault and child pornography. As of July 24, his time had expired to take the plea offer. Barnes said she offered the deal to Berg due to the fact that it would maximize his state sentencing guidelines.
The defendant remains in jail on a $400,000 bond.
Even if Berg had accepted the plea offer, Michigan sex crime lawyers know he would still have faced possible penalties of life in prison. First-degree criminal sexual conduct is the most serious of all sexual charges, and involves penetration. The maximum penalty for second-degree CSC is 15 years in prison.
Individuals who have been accused of any sex offense, regardless of how minor it may seem, must consult with an aggressive and experienced Michigan sex crime attorney. The criminal penalties for these types of crimes are extremely harsh; many innocent people are behind bars today, serving time for crimes they did not commit. It is critical that you consult with a capable criminal defense lawyer so that you don’t find yourself in the same situation.