Does it seem lately that we have seen a dramatic rise in news stories reporting the shocking arrests of teachers, radio personalities and even religious figures for charges of criminal sexual conduct? Or is it merely that sex crimes have long been unreported rather than appearing to be a crime on the rise? Although a very difficult question to answer, what is very clear is that allegations of criminal sexual conduct, admittedly a deeply divisive and sensitive topic on so many levels, can dramatically affect the lives of both the victim and the accused.
In this past month alone came the news of two (2) high profile and disturbing arrests in Michigan. The first involved a local radio personality in Northern Michigan facing a felony charge of first degree sexual conduct arising out of an allegation that he paid another individual to arrange for sexual encounters with multiple minor victims. A Homeland Security agent that took part in the recent investigation was quoted as saying "We see violators from pretty much all social-economic statuses and all professions, it's amazing what we see, so we're really not too surprised anymore." Following his arrest, the accused was given a $500,000.00 bond and is now facing the possibility of life in prison if convicted.
In a second and more recent story, a female teacher at a private high school in the metro Detroit area was also arrested and charged with five (5) counts of felony first degree sexual conduct following allegations that she had an ongoing sexual relationship with a 15-year-old male student. She was employed as a Spanish teacher. Following her arrest, the accused was given a $50,000.00 bond and released on a GPS tether. She too faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted.
Criminal Sexual Conduct ("CSC") is broken down into four (4) degrees with first degree CSC (1st degree criminal sexual conduct) and third degree CSC (3rd degree criminal sexual conduct) involving "sexual penetration" and second degree CSC (2nd degree criminal sexual conduct) and fourth degree CSC (4th degree criminal sexual conduct) involving "sexual contact." All of these crimes are unquestionably very serious and involve numerous penalties. These penalties not only include extensive incarceration in prison but also public placement on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry (SORA). Once on SORA, it is extremely difficult to have your name removed from the registry even after conclusion of a term of lengthy incarceration.
Here is a thumbnail guide to the potential penalties for CSC conviction in Michigan:
- 1st Degree: Up to life in prison and lifetime registration on SORA
- 2nd Degree: Up to 15 years in prison and registration on SORA
- 3rd Degree: Up to 15 years in prison registration on SORA
- 4th Degree: Up to 2 years in prison and registration on SORA
If convicted of CSC, registration on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry (SORA) is required in addition to the criminal penalties outlined above. Offenses are categorized into 1 of 3 Tiers:
- Tier 1: Registration for 15 years (non-public)
- Tier 2: Registration for 26 years (public)
- Tier 3: Lifetime registration (public)
For a breakdown of greater information and detail regarding sex crimes, as well as their corresponding penalties, here is a link to the statutes on the Michigan Legislative Website:
Without question, being charged with, or even accused of, a sex crime can be a life altering event. We recognize the sensitivity of this topic but it is very real and crosses all boundaries of society. If you have any further questions regarding allegations of criminal sexual conduct, or need assistance about any other criminal or personal injury matters, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time for an absolutely free and completely confidential consultation.