On Friday September 13, trial began in the case of William Meni, a 44-year-old Gwinn man accused of criminal sexual conduct. According to a news article at Uppermichiganssource.com, Meni faces eight charges for the alleged sexual assault of three victims younger than 13 years old.
The alleged sexual assaults took place in 1995-1996, 2007-2008, and 2012 according to police. One victim was five years old, another seven years old when the sexual assault occurred, according to Prosecuting Attorney Matt Wiese. The third victim, who was six years old in 1995 when she was allegedly assaulted, is now married and expecting her second child.
The details of the alleged sexual assaults are explicit, and involve oral sex, forcing the victims to watch pornographic films, and penetration. Meni also allegedly made comments to one of the victims about her breasts getting larger. In one case, the mother of the victim walked in on her daughter, who was five at the time, with Meni. The defendant’s defense attorney opened with a statement claiming that there is an absolute “presumption of innocence.” He urged the jury not to rush to judgment, explaining that the prosecutor must prove his client’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. He also told jurors to carefully scrutinize why the allegations are just now coming to light.
In the case of the victim who was allegedly assaulted in 1995 and 1996, no information was revealed to family members for more than five years; at that point, no one came forward to authorities until a year later. Meni’s lawyer said that when there is a rape of a child who is six or seven years old, there would be “something.” However, he went on to say that nothing was reported until 2002, a year after the alleged victim had told family members.
First-degree criminal sexual conduct leaves an accused individual facing 25 years to life in prison. Michigan sex crime attorneys realize that if convicted on all eight counts, the defendant in this case will likely spend a substantial portion of the remainder of his life behind bars.
When accused of sexual assault it is important to secure the legal support and guidance of a skilled and aggressive Michigan sex crime defense lawyer, who will work to protect you from a conviction and the resulting criminal penalties.