Man sentenced to jail for attempted third-degree CSC.

March 3, 2020

Timothy Thorne with attorney Tracie Dinehart.

Man sentenced to jail for attempted third-degree CSC.

#MasonCountyCrime

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

LUDINGTON – A 37-year-old Sherman Township man was sentenced to one year in jail in 51st Circuit Court Tuesday, March 3, for a conviction of attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC).

Timothy John Thorne, of 4020 N. Stephens Rd., pleaded guilty to the charge, Jan. 28.

Judge Susan K. Sniegowski went above the probation department’s recommendation of eight months up front in jail and ordered a full year of incarceration.

In exchange for his plea, one count of accosting children for immoral purposes was dismissed.

Thorne testified last January that on June 2 or 3 of 2018 that he attempted to have sex with a 14-year-old girl at a home on Danaher Street in the City of Ludington. He said he did not know the girl was a minor at the time.

He testified that he had been drinking at the time of the offense. “I was kind of in and out,” he said.

Thorne was also sentenced to five years probation, and he has to register as a sex offender.

Sentencing guidelines in the case were 5-23 months, but were reduced to 0-17 months after Thorne’s attorney, Tracie Dinehart, argued that her client was not the leader in the crime, but another person was the instigator.

“The defendant and the co-defendant acted in concert,” said Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola.

Dinehart argued that the girl, who was highly intoxicated, was already in a bedroom and was not moved there by Thorne.

The co-defendant has not yet been charged in the case, she said.

Judge Sniegowski agreed with Dinehart’s argument, which resulted in lowering the sentencing guidelines.

Dinehart also argued that her client did not take “predatory action.” She said, “There is no indication he was the one who supplied the alcohol.”

The judge disagreed, stating that Thorne bought the vodka that the girl drank. “The victim was highly intoxicated,” she said, stating that she was taken advantage of and exploited.

Thorne has no prior felonies, but seven misdemeanor convictions.

The judge said Thorne could have been sent to prison, but there was a negotiated plea agreement due the co-defendant being more culpable and Thorne’s cooperation with authorities.

“He openly admits he has a problem with alcohol and made a very poor choice that night,” Dinehart said. “He realizes where he went wrong. This never would have happened without alcohol.”

The attorney said Thorne also has a cognitive impairment. She asked the judge for a tether sentence.

“I wish it never would have happened,” Thorne said, fighting back tears.

“I do believe you understand the nature of charges and are competent to go forward,” the judge said.

“Mr. Thorne, you have a significant history with alcohol,” Judge Sniegowksi said. “There are so many things about this case that are very, very disturbing to the court.”

He received credit for three days served in jail and must report Monday, March 9, due to a medical procedure he is scheduled to have Friday, March 6.

The maximum penalty for attempted third-degree CSC is five years in prison.

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