Juvenile Sex Offender Sentence Draws Criticism
October 23, 2017
The sentence for a Brighton Township teen charged with multiple sexual assaults is producing a backlash of criticism from the community that it is too lenient and an insult to the victims.
The 16-year-old, who is not being identified because he was charged as a juvenile, originally faced 31 felonies, but entered into a plea deal in which he only admitted to six of the counts including one count each of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and accosting a minor for immoral purposes, and four counts of possession of child sexually explicit material.
On Thursday he was ordered by Livingston County Juvenile Court Referee Chelsea Thomason to spend 45 days at the Monroe County Youth Center, but then will be allowed to return home and undergo outpatient sex offender rehabilitation. That was despite the plea agreement stipulating he be admitted to a residential sex offender facility. However, the referee was not bound by the terms of the deal and sided with the boy’s attorney and probation officer that residential treatment was not necessary. That drew quick reaction from parents of the victims, who said they were “shocked” by the sentence and the referee’s refusal to follow the plea agreement. Social media reaction has also been highly critical of the decision.
Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt tells WHMI that, “It’s obviously not what we had asked for. But when a juvenile pleads guilty to the most serious offense - in this case, first degree criminal sexual conduct - while we can make our recommendations, we can’t make the court impose any specific sentence. The court has the discretion to impose whatever sentence it thinks appropriate.” Vailliencourt said his office is reviewing their options and may ask for a review of the sentence. If they do, it would be made by Chief Judge David Reader.
The majority of the charges against the teen stemmed from allegations that he sexually assaulted three teen girls in Livingston County within the last two and a half years. (JK)