Criminal Sexual Conduct Second Degree
Back in Mid December our client was nice enough to welcome a friend to stay in his home after being kicked out by his wife. Our client provided his friend with a room of his own, and included him in family activities.
The friend also had a nine-year-old daughter that our client was nice enough to allow in his home to visit her father. The girl was even allowed to stay the night on a few occasions; she always slept in the room with her father.
One particular night in December the daughter came to the house to see her father, make gingerbread homes, and stay the night in father’s room, again where she had slept every other time she had stayed over.
Around 10 to 10:30 pm our client laid down with his three-year-old son while watching television in his son’s room. Our client fell asleep. Later in the night, after 2 AM, the client woke up. Groggy, he went to his bed and lay down. A shot while later he rolled over to cuddle with his wife and touched her leg, it was at this point the client realized the person in bed with him was not his wife! It was the daughter of the friend! The client in shock, wondering why this girl was in his bed shouted, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN HERE!? GO BACK TO YOUR DAD’S ROOM!”
Remember, our client had no reason to know that the daughter would be in his bed. She had never been in there ever before, and had always slept in her dad’s room in the past. The client was also asleep when the girl went into the client’s bed.
The girl ran to her father’s room. The girl, also startled from being woken up and yelled at told her father that our client had touched her. It was the father’s testimony at trial that he then began asking the daughter questions, “where did he touch you”, “was it on your privates”, “was it sexual”, etc. From this point the story grew and fabricated like the game of telephone.
Our client was called by the police and asked to give a statement. At the time he did not have a lawyer and spoke to the police when we would have advised him not to. Our client maintained his innocence throughout litigation. The police refused to take the wife’s statement that was at the home when the events transpired. The client was appalled, frustrated, and terrified to find out he was being charged with criminal sexual conduct second degree.
Being charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct Second Degree, he was facing SORA the sex offenders registration list and and years of prison time.
MCL 750.520c Criminal sexual conduct second degree is a felony punishable as follows:
(a) By imprisonment for not more than 15 years.
(b) In addition to the penalty specified in subdivision (a), the court shall sentence the defendant to lifetime electronic monitoring under section 520n if the violation involved sexual contact committed by an individual 17 years of age or older against an individual less than 13 years of age.
The daughter, now 10-years-old at the trial, testified that she had been touched under her pajamas but could not remember specifically if her privates were touched, or if they were was it he butt or vagina that was touched. Her story changed every time she told it. She also testified that the more she talked with her mom about the touch the more she remembered. (This is a proven scientific impossibility).
At trial an expert on forensic protocol, and child memory testified. The expert testified that it is widely accepted in the scientific community the memory does not get better with time. The expert also testified that children’s memories especially are open to suggestibility and every time the story was discussed with parents, police, interviewers, etc., the memory would become more corrupt. Finally, the expert testified that our client did show any signs or exhibit behaviors of a pedophile. (No grooming behaviors)
The friend tried to down play how many beers he had been drinking that night. At first he testified that he had three when in fact it was more than six. There was also testimony that he had been on a drug as well. On cross-exam it was discovered that the friend also stayed living in the home days after his daughter was allegedly abused.
The jury came back with a verdict in 7 minutes – NOT GUILTY OF CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT SECOND DEGREE. The jury did not believe that our client touched the girl with any sexual purpose, a requirement of criminal sexual conduct second degree. The jurors found the father to be unreadable and the daughter’s statements to be either coached or influenced by conversations with others. One of the jurors remarked, “I cannot believe this was ever charged.”
Our client was relieved to have his life back. I spoke with him a few days later and asked him how his weekend was, his response, “The best in months, Aaron!”