Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Man who impregnated Plymouth Township teen will serve at least 20 years

Original Story:

A Salem Township man faces 20 or more years in prison over his relationship with an underage Plymouth Township girl who ran away with him for two days last October. An Allegan County Sex Crime Lawyer is looking the case over.

Robert L. Messer, 38, pleaded guilty Friday in Wayne County Circuit Court to one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of accosting a child for immoral purposes. Four charges were dismissed: three charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and one of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a person under age 13.

The plea agreement also calls for a prison sentence of 20-40 years, said Maria Miller, spokeswoman for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

“We are satisfied that justice has been done in this case,” Miller said. Messer will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release, will have lifetime electronic monitoring after prison and is barred from having contact with the victim and her family, Miller said. The Sex Offender Registry can be the often be the worst consequence of a sex crime conviction.

Defense attorney Jonathan Jones said all sides had agreed to the deal. Messer’s plea came nearly four months after a trial on six charges ended with a hung jury and a mistrial. A retrial had been scheduled to start Monday.

“The Wayne County prosecutor’s office, particularly (assistant prosecutor) Aimee Fowler, handled this justly and professionally,” Jones said Tuesday. “We’re very grateful to the people involved and I think everybody is grateful this has come to closure.”

Messer, who remains in the Wayne County Jail, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday, Aug. 22, by Judge Qiana D. Lillard. A Wayne County Parental Rights Lawyer may need to be involved if Messer wants to see his children.

Messer had been a friend of the victim’s family and had attended the same church. It was reportedly not unusual for Messer and the girl to go on outings together.

The victim was 15 when she and Messer ran off together last Oct. 27; they left notes declaring their love for each other, authorities say. They were found two days later in Washtenaw County after a witness recognized Messer’s truck from media reports and called police.

The victim has since given birth to a boy fathered by Messer.

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