Rape case reduced to child abuse, defendant receives probation. 

July 12, 2022

Chriselle English

Rape case reduced to child abuse, defendant receives probation. 

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — A 60-year-old Branch Township man received two years of probation in 51st Circuit Court today after he pleaded no contest to child abuse fourth degree. Chriselle Renard English of 1617 S. Landon Road was initially charged with criminal sexual conduct first degree and child abuse third degree in connection to allegations that took place at least 20 years ago by a relative who was a minor at the time. English pleaded no contest to the charges.

A plea agreement between the prosecution and defense was made based on civil liabilities in relation to the statute of limitations in the case, which included an added count of child abuse fourth degree in exchange for the dismissal of the original charges. 

The victim, who is now in her mid-30s, spoke during court. She talked about how the defendant sexually assaulted her multiple times when she was a pre-teenager. She also talked about how the defendant and his wife put her in “home jail”, punishing her for having poor grades. The punishment included rationed meals, watching her use take showers, often turning the temperature up to “scolding hot.” 

The victim said that English sexually assaulted her with oral sex and made her watch out the window for his wife to come home. 

“I just want you to know I am telling the truth and he knows the truth and that’s why he won’t look at me.” 

The victim concluded her impact statement by telling English that she loved him and that she forgave him. 

She said ran away from school after high school because the man had told her he was going to “touch” her again. She joined the Navy and did not see him again for over 20 years. When she did see him, she realized that she should press charges against him. 

“I can say that this case has me very perplexed with what exactly I’m being asked to do,” Judge Susan Sniegowski said. “Everything I know about this case I have heard today in open court and read in three paragraphs in this (one page) police report.”

Sniegowski said during court that the case was investigated by the Mason County Sheriff’s Office. 

“It appears there are some questions as to whether there’s some legal issues with statute of limitations, some legal issues regarding the burden of proof and I really appreciate (the victim) coming forward and making statements today.” Judge Sniegowski said.

“This is one of those cases that is extremely difficult. There’s a lot of work and a lot of years that have come to getting here today. The court isn’t always privy to those discussions. I am going to follow this recommendation (the plea agreement). There is nothing that the court can do that can take away the pain that this young woman has had to go through. This does offer some closure.” 

English was sentenced to two years probation and was ordered to have no contact with the victim. He also was ordered to pay $525 in fines and fees. 

Criminal sexual conduct first degree is punishable by up to life imprisonment. 

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