Michigan criminal defense attorneys know that individuals found guilty of sex crimes involving children face extremely serious consequences. Recently, 35-year-old Kevin M. Lambert of Ypsilanti was sentenced to up to 70 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to six counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a 4-year-old girl who was in his care, according to news reports.
In October of last year, Lambert was charged in federal court for producing, distributing, receipt, and possession of child pornography. An undercover federal agent discovered that several videos and images of a young female child were displayed in a chat room, posted by a user with screen name Akyle679, and that the user insinuated the young girl was a child who was in his care. After discovering that the screen name belonged to Lambert on the Kik messaging app, agents began surveilling Lambert’s home. He was taken into federal custody and indicted on the charges.
The incidents took place between April and October of last year; all child pornography cases are handled at the federal level. On July 14, Lambert was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison by U.S. Eastern District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds on the producing, distributing, and possessing charges. An incident in June 2015 led to charges on six counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, which Lambert pleaded guilty to. These charges resulted in the 70-year sentence handed down on July 20. Lambert will serve the 40-year and 40 to 70 year sentences concurrently.
Lambert’s defense lawyer said at his hearing that his client was mentally disturbed and had sought help during the time he manufactured and distributed the sexually explicit materials, that Lambert knew he had a problem. This was an effort to have Lambert’s sentence reduced to the mandatory minimum of 25 years for first-degree CSC, however it didn’t work. Prosecutors described Lambert as a pedophile and child molester, and called the idea of giving him 25 years “absurd.” Local prosecutors suggested a sentence of 60 to 90 years initially, and said that Lambert deserved the full 60 years for his actions, the girl’s suffering, and what she may face in the future as her identity was circulated during the process, according to Washtenaw County Trial Court Jude Archie Brown, who sentenced Lambert to up to 70 years on the criminal sexual conduct charges.
Lambert also faces lifetime GPS monitoring and was ordered to register as a sex offender. Considering the sentences, it’s unlikely Lambert will see the outside world again until he is at least 75 years old, if even then.
This is a horrific crime, and while Lambert pleaded guilty there are many people accused of sex crimes who are innocent. While there was evidence to support the allegations in this case, in other cases there may be no evidence other than one person’s word against another’s. Lambert’s actions were definitely those of a disturbed or depraved individual. That said, we don’t realize how easy it would be to find ourselves in a similar situation, accused of a crime we didn’t commit. For instance, what if a child were coerced by an adult to say something that wasn’t true, such as that you touched him/her in an inappropriate manner? It happens all the time, and innocent people are punished and left to live the rest of their lives under a cloud of suspicion.