The families of sexual assault victims are hopeful safety recommendations will be adopted and further psychological testing conducted for a Brighton Township teen convicted in sexual assault cases.

The teen is not being identified as he is a juvenile. He was originally charged with 31 felonies but ultimately pleaded guilty to six of the charges, including 1st degree criminal sexual conduct. A hearing held Tuesday before Livingston County Juvenile Court Referee Chelsea Thomason centered on an intensive probation safety and supervision plan, as well as a psychological assessment that many of the victim’s families felt was lacking. The teen completed a 45-day sentence in the Monroe County Youth Center but will remain there until the plan and recent order for release is signed or modified by a judge.

Upon release, the juvenile will be placed on full house arrest with a tether and participate in online education. He must also comply with all requirements included in the probation and safety plan, and cannot have any direct or in-direct contact with the victims or their families. Home and family rules must be documented and included in the safety plan and some other changes were made related to safety zones for the victims and their families, such as homes and places of employment. Referee Thomason recommended a test known as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or MMPI, be performed that could shed light on underlying psychological issues and aid in helping the juvenile. .

The MMPI test is something the victims and families have been pressing for. Ashley D. is the mother of one of the victims and felt a lot of the plan and report were a joke that involved self-assessment and the juvenile’s mother reporting. She also questioned aspects related to his protection and references to extra security measures for his family, saying his mother drives by their house making obscene hand gestures. Ashley said she couldn’t really leave the hearing feeling confident that the recommendations will be adopted because a judge still has to sign off and does not have to impose them. She noted the juvenile’s plea deal recommended he go to an in-patient rehabilitation treatment center but Circuit Court Judge David Reader went against that and ordered the 45 day sentence instead. Ashley says she’s happy the juvenile will be placed on full house arrest versus just a monitored tether like before. She said the goal is coming forward has always been to get rid of the stigma associated with sexual assault being a victims problem. She noted other victims have hesitated because of what her daughter and others have gone through but she wants them to know there is justice and they won’t stop fighting for them, just like she won’t stop fighting for her daughter.

Ashley’s feeling were echoed by Debra S., another mother of one of the victims and the first who came forward, who left the hearing feeling better than expected. Debra said she hasn’t seen much to give her any confidence in the system to protect the victims but it sounded like some protections were actually added to keep them safe. She is not happy with the juvenile’s pending release and him to stay in a treatment facility for at least a year for not only his safety and the victims but everyone in the community. She felt the evaluation was not sufficient and basically something that would be done for someone with a sensory disorder – adding the teen doesn’t need help to get through high school but help to recognize that what he did was wrong and stop doing it. Debra told WHMI she’s not holding her breath, but there are some things in place to hopefully help.

Assistant Prosecutor Marilyn Bradford requested the MMPI test. During the hearing, Bradford raised concerns with the content and integrity of the previous psych assessment and statements made by a private clinician, saying it was more appropriate for a school-type assessment and academic needs and not for a matter of this nature. She noted that while the observations were positive, they were made in very controlled settings and did not address recidivism, public safety or the safety of victims.

The MPPI test was contested by the juvenile’s attorney Ed Literski, who said the teen has underwent various assessments and the safety plan is very intensive with strict requirements. He noted everyone outside of Bradford recommends he should go home. The juvenile’s probation officer also noted the teen is in 100% compliance with terms set forth.

A restitution hearing for the victims is scheduled later this month. (JM/JK)