Criminal Sexual Conduct in the 1st Degree involves penetration. This is the most serious form of CSC in Michigan. There are circumstances in which the crime can carry with it a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years to life. This is nothing to sneeze at. That is why attorneys often ask for such large retainers in these cases. The 25 year mandatory minimum is required if the victim is under 13 and the accused is over 17. It doesn’t matter if the act was factually consensual. Keep in mind the law defines penetration far more broadly than most lay persons do. In all other cases of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, the maximum penalty is life or any term of years.
In addition to penetration to a victim under 13, a criminal sexual conduct 1st can be charged when any of the following facts are present:
- That victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years of age AND any of the following:
- The accused is a member of the same household as the victim.
- The accused is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the fourth degree.
- The accused is in a position of authority over the victim and used this authority to coerce the victim to submit.
- The accused is a teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled.
- The accused is an employee or a contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled, or is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.
- The accused is an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home in which that other person is a resident, and the sexual penetration occurs during the period of that other person’s residency. As used in this subparagraph, “child care organization”, “foster family home”, and “foster family group home” mean those terms as defined in section 1 of 1973 PA 116, MCL 722.111.
In any of the above, the charge fo CSC 1st carries a maximum penalty of life or any term of years but there is not the mandatory 25 year mandatory minimum.
The outcome of these cases usually turns on the credibility of the victim. There is rarely any DNA, a physical injury, a confession or other victims. Rather, the state is counting entirely on a jury believing a victim. Fortunately, almost all victims change aspects of their story as the case goes long. It may have been told one to the person the victim initially made the disclosure to, then totally different when the victim talked to the police and then again at trial. It is important to keep track of these changes. An honest person has one story, a liar, several.