Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Original Story:

Allegations of an inappropriate relationship between a 37-year-old man and a 15-year-old Plymouth Township girl apparently surfaced as early as last year, according to court testimony today.

The girl’s mother testified during the preliminary examination for Robert Messer that Messer’s ex-wife accused the pair of being in a relationship in 2012.

The girl’s mother, however, noted she was not aware that police felt it was a serious matter and that the allegation was from Messer’s ex-wife during a custody fight over Messer’s children.

“I spoke to both of them. They said there was nothing going on,” the mother testified about conversations she had with Messer and her daughter. Messer said, “ ‘No, I couldn’t do that to you guys.’ … He assured me there was nothing going on.”

The preliminary examination began today in 35th District Court in Plymouth and is expected to resume Nov. 19, when the girl will testify. Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Aimee Fowler filed a motion with Judge Michael Gerou asking that the public, including the news media, be barred from the courtroom while the girl testifies. Gerou said he would issue a decision later. A Wayne County Sex Crime Attorney said this would be in the best interest for the girl.

The case caught international attention last month when Messer, who did not speak during today’s hearing and remains jailed on $2-million bail, was charged with first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct and accosting a minor for immoral purposes. He is accused of having sexual contact with the girl at locations in Wayne and Washtenaw counties. They were found in a Salem Township field with self-inflicted wounds on Oct. 27, two days after they supposedly left for a hiking trip, an activity they frequently engaged in.

The girl’s mother has said that she felt especially betrayed because of the high level of trust the family had with Messer, someone they had met through church about 10 years ago. She said Messer, who lives in Salem Township but has a Northville mailing address, was a father figure to the girl, whose identity is being withheld by the Free Press because she is a victim in a criminal sexual conduct case.

During today’s hearing, the girl’s mother­ — the only person to testify — described her joy at being reunited with her daughter at a Livonia hospital and her concern about the girl’s undisclosed injuries, which required stitches. The girl was dehydrated.

“Her face was sunken in, and she was really pale, which was heartbreaking,” the girl’s mother said, crying as she later described the betrayal she felt from Messer.  A Washtenaw County CPS Lawyer was reviewing the case.

“Of everyone that I knew, he was the one person I thought I could trust,” she testified. “I had no idea that they were romantically involved.”

She said Messer’s 14-year-old son found a note that the pair had left before they disappeared indicating that they were in love and could not live without each other.

The girl’s mother testified that the girl is now in counseling and spent days in a hospital psychiatric ward after she was found.

“She thinks that everyone thinks less about her. … She’s ashamed of it, she’s humiliated by it,” the girl’s mother testified.

But Messer’s attorney, Jonathan Jones, indicated through his questioning that he considers the relationship voluntary.

Whatever contact she had was of her choosing, Jones said.

“Well, she is 15, but yes,” the girl’s mother said.

“Fifteen-year-olds pick their friends, don’t they?” Jones asked.

“Sometimes,” the girl’s mother replied. A Wayne County CPS Lawyer said he is considering defending the mother if charges are brought against her.

No comments:

Post a Comment