Former Hart police officer sentenced to prison for CSC.

December 7, 2021

Thrailkill

Former Hart police officer sentenced to prison for CSC.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

LUDINGTON — A 22-year-old Pere Marquette Township man who was a part-time probationary police officer with the Hart Police Department was sentenced to four to 15 years in prison in 51st Circuit Court Tuesday, Dec. 7, for a conviction of third-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC).

Trevor Kenneth Thrailkill, of 5373 Hesslund Rd., was hired as a part-time police officer with the City of Hart in October of 2020, said Hart Police Chief Juan Salazar. “Thrailkill was unable to complete the department’s field training program, which subsequently led to Thrailkill’s termination with the department in February of 2021,” the chief said.

Thrailkill was initially charged with a more serious count of first-degree CSC, which was dismissed when he pleaded guilty to third-degree CSC, Oct. 26.

The sexual contact began when the female victim was 10-years-old and continued over a five-year period that ended in September of 2020, said Mason County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Beth Hand.

The case was investigated by the Michigan State Police.

“It’s hard to move forward as a family,” said the victim’s mother as she wept.

“I believe that she was extremely brave for coming forward,” said Assistant Prosecutor Hand of the victim. “She was very candid about her fear of coming forward that her family would not believe her because the defendant was a police officer.

“He was on probation, I believe, in the sense that they hadn’t fully hired him yet,” said Hand.

“The defendant admitted his conduct in this case. He admitted that this sexual behavior began when he was much younger than he is now, and it started off as experimentation. But this went on until the defendant was 21-years-old.

“If she didn’t come forward, this was going to be a person who wore a badge and carried a gun. I don’t think this was an easy decision for the victim in this case.

“There is a lot of consideration that goes into making a sentencing agreement — especially in a case of this gravity,” said the assistant prosecutor. “One of those is: Do you re-traumatize the victim by bringing her into court and having to testify in front of 12 strangers as to the horrific things that were perpetrated upon her by this individual? So in making the plea reduction from a first (degree) to a third (degree) with the agreement of the sentence with the Michigan Department of Corrections — that was not a decision that came lightly. It was well thought out and discussed at great length.”

“I am hopeful that the family will heal; I am hopeful that (the victim) will heal; and I hope that all people that are affected by this case will find peace at some point,” said defense attorney Jeffrey West. “Trevor’s going to do his best to make adjustments, and I would expect he will never appear in front of a court in the future.”

Thrailkill did not comment.

“There is no question this is an extremely difficult situation for everyone involved, and it’s going to take years to move on from it,” said Judge Susan K. Sniegowski. “It’s the type of thing that you never get over. It has created a huge rift in a family, and that’s one of the reasons why these punishments are what they are — because the conduct has damaging implications for years and years to come.”

The judge ordered that Thrailkill go immediately into the custody of the officers in the courtroom to begin his sentence. She gave him credit for two days served in jail.

“Hart Police Department officers are held to an extremely high standard, as they should be, which is why prospective officers complete a field training program with the department’s certified field training officer prior to being given approval for solo patrol to verify they are able to serve the citizens of the City of Hart with the utmost professionalism and investigative skills,” said Chief Salazar. “The department currently has two certified field training instructors.”

First-degree CSC is punishable by up to life in prison and carries a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence. Third-degree CSC is punishable by up to 15 years.

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