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Accused Sex Offenders Face Lifelong Stigma

When convicted of sex crimes, individuals usually face more than just prison time. Upon release, many will find themselves listed in national and state directories, constantly monitored and bearing the label of “sex offender” for all to see.

For nine men arrested this August in Michigan during a cyber predator sting, that future looms very large. Accused of soliciting sex online from an officer posing as a minor, all now face up to 40 years in prison under Michigan law. Each of the men has been arraigned on two felony charges, child sexual abusive activity and using a computer to commit a crime. In addition to the potential criminal penalties though, they also face the stigma of living as a registered sex offender for the rest of their lives.

Michigan penal code breaks criminal sexual conduct into four degrees, with first-degree convictions carrying the heaviest penalties. Even if an individual is convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct though, he or she will be registered alongside those with more serious sentences for up to 25 years. Sex offender databases are readily available and easy for anyone to find and share.

In designating sex offenders, Michigan does not distinguish between the severities of their crimes.

For those accused of a sex crime, even if acquitted, the social cost can be high. For those convicted the personal toll is even greater. An individual’s name and picture will most likely appear in papers, online and on television. Many have trouble obtaining a job or an apartment afterward. A strong defense is essential for those seeking to clear their names or lessen the effects of a conviction.

Accusations of criminal sexual conduct cover a wide range of scenarios and there are many things to be considered in any case. An experienced defense attorney will have the knowledge and tact to handle cases with care and insight, respecting the delicate nature of criminal sexual conduct trials.

For more information about the law concerning criminal sexual conduct in Michigan, or any state, we recommend contacting an attorney with a background in this sensitive area.