Jury delivers guilty verdict in CSC case.

September 16, 2022

Mitchell

Jury delivers guilty verdict in CSC case.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART — A jury found a 31-year-old Ludington man guilty of third-degree criminal sexual conduct during a trial in Oceana County’s 51st Circuit Court Thursday, Sept. 15.

Christian Lee Mitchell faces up to 15 years in prison for the conviction.

The victim in the case — a 38-year-old woman — had an “on-and-off relationship” with Mitchell for about a year, said Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon. “They met at night to discuss their relationship. During an argument, he forcibly sexually assaulted her in the back seat of the vehicle she had driven the two of them in. Sexual penetration by force or coercion in Michigan is defined as criminal sexual assault in the third degree.

“I am grateful that the jury took this case seriously and ruled for justice for the victim. This has been traumatic for her, and I hope this gives her some peace and closure. She showed courage and strength. I am grateful to the deputies who answered the call to come to court. There was a young deputy, Scott Pankow, on his first trial and first case of this type. He did an excellent job. Officer Elizabeth Mantyk of the Hart Police Department was very helpful during this investigation. I am grateful to Sgt. Scott Bosely and Sgt. Cam Hanson and K-9 Laz for tracking and finding the suspect the night of the offense and Det. Mark Hiddema for overseeing and coordinating all the follow-up investigative matters. This is a team effort, and I am grateful to work with these officers.”

The trial began Wednesday when the jury heard witness testimony and concluded Thursday with closing arguments from the prosecution and defense, said Bizon. The jury deliberated for approximately three and a half hours,

Sentencing is set for Nov. 14.

Sentencing guidelines will apply in Mitchell’s case — “and it must be an indeterminate sentence as a matter of law — meaning a minimum within the guidelines to the maximum set by statute,” said Bizon.

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