Judge sends man to prison for 30 years for molestation of 5-year-old adopted daughter
By Theresa Ghiloni
JACKSON, MI -- Before sentencing a man who admitted to molesting his 5-year-old adopted daughter to 30 to 50 years in prison for one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, Circuit Judge John G. McBain said he couldn't "wrap his head" around the crime.
"I just can't wrap my head around a 46-year-old man who's gonna turn his daughter into a sex toy," McBain said. "I'm sure what you have done has emotionally scarred her and the rest of your family for the rest of their lives."
Jackson County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Kati Rezmierski told McBain during the Jan. 7 sentencing that the man violated what should have been "a sacred bond" with his daughter. She said his actions will eventually cause the now 7-year-old she described as "amazing" and "fierce" to internalize the "shame and degradation" he caused.
The man's name has been withheld because he shares a name with his daughter and the Citizen Patriot typically does not print names of sexual assault victims.
When the 46-year-old defendant was given a chance to speak, he tearfully apologized for his actions, saying there were "no words to describe how sorry, how ashamed, how embarrassed" he is. However, he never directly referred to his daughter until the judge asked him how he thought his actions would impact her, a fact Rezmierski reiterated throughout her allocution.
"He talked about the impact this has had on nieces and nephews and church family. Not one time did he say her name," Rezmierski said. "He violated her in virtually every way I can comprehend and imagine. ... You can make darned certain that regardless of the number that you give him she will be degraded as much as any of us can comprehend. That is what he has wrought, this man that can't even be brought to utter her name."
Rezmierski had previously been disqualified from the case because the victim made new allegations of abuse during an interview when only the prosecutor was present. The Michigan Court of Appeals later reversed the lower court's decision and allowed Rezmierski to prosecute the case.
The man's defense attorney, Alfred Brandt, told McBain his client was known by many, including his now ex-wife and the victim's mother, as "a good man." He said his client told detectives from the Blackman-Leoni Public Safety Department about the abuse because "he was tired of lying," adding it spoke to his character.
Under Michigan Law, first-degree criminal sexual conduct convictions carry a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison with the maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The man pleaded guilty to the single count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in November and in exchange the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office dropped two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and an aggravated indecent exposure charge against him.
While delivering her victim impact statement to the court, the man's ex-wife told him she forgave him and said she knows her family will overcome this.
"While our family picture has been changed forever I want to be here today to say we're going to be victorious in this situation and I don't view us as victims," the man's ex-wife told the court. "I do want you to know that I forgive you and while I can't make our children do the same I will continue raising them in a loving, caring, and nurturing Christian home and surround them with positive influences."