Hart man sentenced to up to 22 years in prison for rape. 

May 25, 2022

Bliss

Hart man sentenced to up to 22 years in prison for rape. 

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — In August 2018, Paul Edward Bliss, 33, of 702 S. Dryden St., met a Mason County woman on the dating app Plenty of Fish. According to court transcripts read by Judge Susan Sniegowski during an April 2022 hearing, bliss met the victim at Stearns Park beach and then went to her apartment in Ludington. According to testimony, he pinned her down and started ripping her shirt off despite her telling him “no.” According to the testimony, he raped her while his hands covered her mouth. When she tried to leave the room, he put his hands around her neck, said the judge.

The victim lived in the apartment with her two young sons. 

Bliss will now serve 3 1/2 to 22 1/2 years in prison for his crime. 

Bliss was arrested by Ludington Police Department in January 2020 by Ludington Police Department but the case was delayed due to various reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic. He was originally charged with count 1, criminal sexual conduct first degree; count 2, unlawful imprisonment; count 3, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder; count 4, criminal sexual conduct – assault with intent to commit sexual penetration; and count 5, criminal sexual conduct third degree – force or coercion. 

On April 5, 2022, Bliss accepted a plea agreement with the Mason County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. The plea agreement called for dismissal of counts 1, 2, and 4. He pleaded no contest (nolo contendere) to counts 3 and 5. 

Bliss was sentenced Tuesday, May 24, 2022 in Mason County’s 51st Circuit Court to serve 3 1/2 to 15 years for count 3 and 3 1/2 to 22 1/2 years in prison for count 5. Credit was given for 54 days served in jail. The sentences run concurrent. He also must register as a sex offender. 

Bliss was previously convicted of third-degree CSC in 2009. 

The victim was not present in the courtroom, however, Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Lauren Kreinbrink read the victim’s impact statement. 

“Things have been rough knowing this case has carried out this long,” the victim wrote. She continued that she had been hesitant to come forward at first and that she hopes that her story may encourage other women to come forward when they are a victim of sexual assault. She explained that she has spent the last four years afraid of Bliss. She stated that he threatened to kill her children. She said she had to move out of her apartment, and get rid of her bed and couch because of the trauma caused by Bliss’s assault. 

“I am praying that this will all come to an end soon so I can move on with my life,” the victim stated. “I am glad I am alive today and that I have the strength and courage… It’s been difficult and now that it is coming to an end I can move on and am hoping some day when gets out that this will not happen to anyone else and that he will not retaliate.” 

Kreinbrink said the victim agreed to the plea agreement. 

Judge Susan Sniegowski called the case shocking. “In this day and age when meeting people, dating through online applications is extremely popular. This particular situation was the worst possible scenario.”

Sniegowski said that it was “unfortunate” that the case had taken so long to conclude. “The delay in this case is perplexing to the court.” She explained that much of the delay was due to the previous prosecutor. “It has created problems for Ms. Kreinbrink and the victim and does make the case much more difficult to prosecute given the lag time, along with shut downs due to COVID and having this hanging out there.” 

Then the judge addressed the defendant. 

“Mr. Bliss, I don’t think this is enough time. I don’t think these minimum sentences are appropriate. However, I understand reason behind them and why we are here. The maximum sentence is something I can agree with in this case. I would not be surprised if you maxed out.” 

Please consider helping to fund local news. Mason County Press and Oceana County Press are available for free thanks to the generous support of our advertisers and individuals. Three ways to help us: Venmo: @MasonCountyPress; Paypal: [email protected]; Mail a check to PO BOX 21, Scottville, MI 49454. 

This story is copyrighted © 2022, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

As the services of Media Group 31, LLC are news services, the information posted within the sites are archivable for public record and historical posterity. For this reason it is the policy and practice of this company to not delete postings. It is the editor’s discretion to update or edit a story when/if new information becomes available. This may be done by editing the posted story or posting a new “follow-up” story. Media Group 31, LLC or any of its agents have the right to make any changes to this policy. Refer to Use Policy for more information.

Area Churches

Subscribe to OCP via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 12,778 other subscribers