Man sentenced for grabbing woman’s buttocks.

January 19, 2022

Man sentenced for grabbing woman’s buttocks.

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By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

Petersen

LUDINGTON — A 51-year-old Ludington man was sentenced to two days in jail with credit for two days served and five years probation for a conviction of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC).

Russell Warren Petersen, of 902 N. Washington Ave., pleaded guilty to the high-court misdemeanor Nov. 23.

“The underlying facts and circumstances of the case are very disturbing,” said Mason County Prosecutor Lauren Kreinbrink. The victim was checking out of Northside Market in September of 2020 and a Wesco store in May of 2021 when Petersen grabbed her buttocks two separate times.

The victim recognized him from “engaging in the same behavior in another Mason County store,” said Kreinbrink. “She is fearful of the defendant. It’s concerning when women are fearful of engaging in everyday activities.”

A victim impact statement was read aloud in court. “My first experience with Russell Petersen was when I was at Northside Market checking out at the register when he entered and grabbed my butt, which was covered by a long sweater,” the victim wrote. “I immediately said, ‘Excuse me,’ and he turned around and seemed to smile under his mask. 

“I was shaking — my whole being was shaken to its core.”

“He put his hands on me and took away my peace of doing simple everyday tasks.” The victim reported the incident to police.

The first incident occurred Sept. 7, 2020. Then, Petersen struck again May 7, 2021 at a local Wesco store. 

“The bone chilling dejavu of being touched by a stranger came over me, and I met the same eyes of Russell Petersen. It was the same exact thing he had done before — grabbing my butt when I was facing the register to cash out. This time I screamed at him to keep his hands to himself and that I knew who he was and I was calling the police immediately.

“This man didn’t learn anything from the first encounter and who knows how many others he’s had.”

Defense attorney Sarah Valente said her client has no criminal history and takes responsibility for his offense. Valente said Petersen works with a mental health professional to control his schizophrenia. 

“I wish I could do May 7th all over again,” said Petersen. “Then I wouldn’t have to go to jail and pay bail. For the last eight months having this serious charge against me… what I did was wrong.”

Judge Susan K. Sniegowski ordered a mental health evaluation and no contact with the victim.

Sentencing guidelines in the case are 0-9 months. 

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